Could you chill cocktail glasses in liquid nitrogen for extra chill?!

I like martinis and manhattans, but the glass seems to come up to room temperature after only a few sips. You can do rocks, but that dilutes the drink.

So I was wondering if it would be possible to dip cocktail glasses in liquid nitrogen to get an extra chill on before you pour the drink into the glass?!

Booker & Dax in NYC does it for most, if not all, of their drinks. Or rather, they pour a little bit of liquid nitrogen in, and then pour it out before pouring the drink in.

Borosilicate glass would help because it can withstand greater temperature swings than regular glass.

How thick is the glass?

Freezing a mug/tankard/stein is practical (kinda) because the glass has enough thermal sink to hold the chill.
The thin glass on a martini (or any other cocktail glass) will dissipate the “cold”* quite quickly.

Even if you can find a glass that does not shatter from the temp difference when inserting it into the nitrogen, it is going to be back at room temp as soon as the drink is poured, or at least before it gets to your mouth.

But: Hey - Cool Visuals Man - the liquid nitrogen so makes the drink worth at least another $6.

    • yes, I know there is no such thing as “cold”; it is merely the absence of heat. Thank you.

You could get a glass a hundred times further below freezing than you’re used to drinking from. Touching it with your lip could cost you the whole lip.

Liquid nitrogen isn’t that dangerous to touch, but solid objects at its temperature are!

Liquid nitrogen has a boiling point of -321°F. If the glass is at room temperature of about 70°F, this is a temperature differential of 391 degrees. If liquid nitrogen was literally poured into it, this would be the equivalent to chilling a glass to 179 degrees below zero F and then suddenly pouring boiling water into it! It doesn’t seem like any glass known to man could withstand that kind of temperature stress. Maybe the glass is just briefly subjected to the nitrogen vapor, which would be a flashy way of giving it a bit of a chill but not really cool it all that much.

The solution to this is to drink your cocktail faster. Then order a second one.

Beware of drinking nitrogen.

If you are pouring cocktails at home and you want them cold, just keep the bottles in your freezer. Hard liquor does not freeze solid.

I once saw a “Whizz! Bang!” demonstration of liquid nitrogen (High School, I think).

A highlight was one student pouring liquid nitrogen over another 's hands.

Since the stuff boiled off as soon as it hit the air, there was no risk.
Had the student stuck his hand into the nitrogen, it could have been a bit different.

Yes, I heard the theory that you could insert your bare hand into liquid lead without harm. Not this boy, not this life, no way.

Moving Sidewalk, a bar in downtown Houston, uses some liquid nitrogen. Not for chilling whole glasses–that would lead to breakage. But they have some tricks.

Without liquid nitrogen, some of their drinks are served with one vary large ice cube. It keeps the drink cool with almost no dilution…

I assume that she will now be working on a claim for compensation - this will likely run to £millions.

To the OP - you can buy various imitation ice cubes that you freeze, but they do not dilute the drink.

Hmm, so picking a 175ml Martini glass - it weighs 185g. If we assume near half of that is in the stem and base, lets call it 100g of glass in near contact with the cocktail proper.

Assume Borosilicate glass, even though it may not survive the thermal shock, we can postulate similar glasses that can, and we might assume they will have similar thermal properties.
(Borosilicate glass will survive a 165 K differential - which is not enough to manage liquid nitrogen at its boiling point to room temperature, 77K to say 300K.)

Specific heat borosilicate glass is pretty well 10[sup]3[/sup] Jkg[sup]-1[/sup]K[sup]-1[/sup]

So our 0.1 kg of glass will hold about 77 * .1 x 10[sup]3[/sup] = 7,700J when dropped in LN[sub]2[/sub]

Assume a Martini. Gin is between 40 and 50% alcohol by volume. Vermouth is say 18% ABV. Nobody will agree on the perfect ratio - so lets just go with 1oz Vermouth, 4oz Gin.
assume the final mix is about 40% ABV, and has a volume of 5oz = 150ml.

Ethanol has a specific heat of: 2.4 x 10[sup]3[/sup] Jkg[sup]-1[/sup]K[sup]-1[/sup]
Water is: 4.2 x 10[sup]3[/sup] Jkg[sup]-1[/sup]K[sup]-1[/sup]
So the 40:60 mix (assuming all sort of things here) is: about 3.5 x 10[sup]3[/sup] Jkg[sup]-1[/sup]K[sup]-1[/sup]

Density of a 40% ABV mix is 0.94. Close enough to 1 not to matter.

Our Martini at room temperature (call it 300K again) holds .15 * 3.5 * 10[sup]3[/sup] * 300 = 160,000J About 20 times the energy of the cooled glass.

This ratio is so large (plus the much higher specific heat of the Martini versus the glass) that there is no point calculating the final energy of the combined system and working out the temperature. As a good enough approximation assume the glass sucks about 1/20[sup]th[/sup] the energy out of the Martini. It will drop at most about 15K or 27F. (In reality a little less, but close.)

That isn’t startling, nor is it trivial. But keeping your Gin in the freezer probably wins.

With water ice, melting* is* cooling. The heat capacity is insufficient to make much of a difference on its own, but the heat of fusion is large. The large cube may melt slower, but that means it isn’t cooling as much.

Yep, I already do that. I will premix manhattans and whatnot. They still come up in temperature pretty quickly–and I chill the glasses in the freezer, too.

It just occurred to me.

What you need is “ice cubes” that don’t melt.

Pick a substance with a “good” specific heat. Cool those muther fuckers cold.

They will cool the drink but not dilute it.

That has the same fault as Francis’ calculation for the cold glass. If the “ice” is big enough and cold enough to hold the drink temperature down, it’s too big and too cold to safely have near your mouth. And if it’s small enough / warm enough to be safe, it loses to the superior specific heat and warmth of the drink.

Heat of fusion is the key to why water ice works at all. If there was a non-toxic substance that froze at about 0F (-15C) and sublimated to gas at about 2 or 4F (-14 or -13C) we’d have a real winner. Just a bit of that “ice” would be the trick. AKAIK that substance doesn’t exist.

Now what could work is drinks served in a sealed dewar pre-cooled by conventional water ice and sipped only through a straw.

The fundamental error is in trying to add cold to the liquid in the glass rather than trying to prevent the influx of heat from the environment. As in so many things, a Joule of prevention outweighs a kiloJoule of cure.

Okay, that last line deserved a “heh” :slight_smile:

So you’re saying that massively cooling the glass doesn’t help much. Thanks!

Here’s another question: how much can we cool the gin itself before it gets dangerous to the imbiber?

Then your house is too warm.