What’s the coldest possible cocktail, and why is chilled better?
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Chilling reduces the taste of alcohol and brings out sweetness. All 80-proof spirits start to freeze at around minus 10 Fahrenheit, but, warns Dave Arnold, director of culinary technology at the French Culinary Institute, in New York, trying to imbibe anything colder than minus 4 will burn your tongue. Arnold pours drinks at that clear and syrupy temperature so they warm to zero, the sweet spot for consumption. A stiff martini that’s close to straight gin is the coldest thing you’d want to try. Once you add water in the vermouth you have to raise the temp, because it “packs more of a cold punch” and will burn you sooner than alcohol. Conventional freezers only go down to zero, so if you really want to do it up cold, mix your drink warm and then chill it with minus-320-degree liquid nitrogen, available at welding-supply stores.