How to Make Super-Cool Frozen Party Cocktails With Liquid Nitrogen

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Introduction: How to Make Super-Cool Frozen Party Cocktails With Liquid Nitrogen

About: Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through understanding, and strives to inspire others to lear...

Use liquid nitrogen to make awesome frozen party drinks. Liquid nitrogen is cold enough to freeze alcohol, allowing really fun frozen-slushy-like cocktails.

Step 1: Liquid Nitrogen Can Freeze Alcohol

Ethanol, the alcohol in cocktails, freezes at -114 C. High-quality freezers are typically set at -18 C, so putting a drink in the freezer or adding water-ice will not freeze the alcohol. Even dry ice, at -79 C will still leave the alcohol a liquid. So, if you really want to freeze the alcohol solid, liquid nitrogen is the best choice. Liquid nitrogen (LN2) boils at -196 C (77 K), and when thoroughly mixed into a drink, will freeze the drink, and boil away leaving nothing behind but frozen yumminess.

Geek note: Most drinks are not 200 proof - so the water-alcohol mixtures freeze at a higher temperature than pure alcohol. Still, it's pretty darn cold.

Step 2: Liquid Nitrogen Safety

Liquid Nitrogen is cold and can cause frostbite or "burns." To handle LN2 safely you need safety glasses, insulated gloves, dewars to safely hold the liquid, and, the best absolute best thing, someone with experience handling LN2.

Since we're freezing alcohol to -114 C, it's important to realize the frozen cocktail itself can be temperature-wise dangerous. At our party, we froze the cocktails, and carefully warned anyone who wanted to try the cocktail-ice directly. In most of the drinks, we also added liquid to some of the cocktail-ice to prevent people from coming into direct contact with the super-cold solids. And in the ones where we didn't, it was probably a bad idea.

I've always gotten my LN2 from a university, or by masquerading as a "remote outpost" of a university to that university's supplier. Renting the dewars isn't too expensive, and the cost of the LN2 itself is less then milk per gallon.

Step 3: Materials, Tools, and Setup

The trick to good texture is good stirring.

You can use a wooden spoon and a bowl with a handle, but it's a lot of work, the bowl gets very cold, and the LN2 and the mix may splash onto your hands.

Better to lock the bowl to the table and use a power stirrer.

We use the bowl from my 4.5 quart KItchenAid mixer, with a new "lock plate".
(I got mine online at Goodmans.net )

The stirring bit is a spackle mud stirrer (these are heavier duty than the paint stirrers available at my hardware store) chucked into my cordless drill.

Note that this setup put little dings into the mixer bowl, which are unsightly and, my wife assures me, will require the acquisition of a new bowl for the mixer.

Step 4: Mix It Up!

Mix it up. Here's the two-person mixing technique: Put the drink ingredients in the bowl. Go a little light on the booze and a little heavy on the mixer, as the extreme cold will make the drink less sweet than it would otherwise be. (Don't worry, you'll adjust the ratios later). Then LN2 pourer ... pours LN2 into the bowl while the stirrer ... stirs the mix. You won't be able to see what is happening, so the pourer pours slowly and stops every so often to allow the stirrer to see into the bowl.

Step 5: Frozen Mimosa

Mimosa ingredients:
Traditionally equal parts OJ and champagne, but
the low temp suppress the flavor, so we went about 2 parts OJ to 1 champagne.
Put the frozen mix into a glass, add a splash of liquid champagne and a maraschino cherry!

Step 6: Frozen Orange Juice and Frozen Apple Juice

For kids, make orange juice or apple juice slush. Add a good bit of unfrozen juice afterwards so it is more like a slushie.

Step 7: Frozen Cosmos

Cosmos ingredients:
Mix 2 parts lemon vodka to one part triple sec combined with one part cranberry and the juice of half a lime. A splash of cranberry afterwards serves to convert the ice to more of a slushie and avoids oral liquid nitrogen burns -- never fun.

Step 8: Frozen Vodka and Gin Martinis

Frozen Martinis - we did the Vodka ones first. Don't be afraid of the Vermouth. I usually, as per Winston Churchill, bow in the general direction of France and add some more Gin, but for this a goodly amount of vermouth does add some flavor. A splash of either afterwards avoids the pain of freeze-burned tongue.

Step 9: Frozen Bloody Mary

Garnish with appropriately cut-up celery; extra vodka serves as a nice ice-solvent.

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    38 Comments

    Good lord people - there was one (!!!) lady, which had a serious incident with LN2! ONE!

    Now guess, how many people have serious injuries through hot oil, while deep frying [you know that if you put in water into superheated oil, you create a fireball?]. Nobody is though making so much drama about frying!

    Point is, that you have to be carefully anyway!

    Superfreezing alcohol? Really? Ethanol has a freezing point below -70ºC - however any drinking alcohol has 40% ethanol and less [and water has a freezing point of 0ºC] - that means, that the slushy would be never much colder than 30ºC - unless it is rock hard...

    And other than dry ice, it is also quite easy to see, if LN2 is not yet evaporated - as it is lighter than the liquid and will be swimming visible on top.

    So I could make a cocktail, pour liquid nitrogen into it and then (after stirring it) drink it?

    2 replies

    You can drink it after all of the liquid nitrogen has burned off. Don't drink it until then.

    The hazard isn't just the liquid nitrogen. The danger depends on the final temperature of the drink. With lots of LN2 used, and just a little high-proof alcohol, the drink may become lethal even when the LN2 is boiled off. Alcohol slush chilled to 100K will destroy your esophagus. Probably WORSE than just LN2, since there's no Leidenfrost gas layer for insulation.

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4577095/Liquid-nitrogen-cocktail-girls-stomach-removed-Gaby-Scanlon-Nitro-Jagermeister.html

    Enough said - this can be dangerous if something goes wrong - presumably some of the nitrogen didn't evaporate (just a guess) before being consumed?
    spjobli 343

    Er, you might want to read this before you drink any LN:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/19866191

     Good grief, people. 

    "I've always gotten my LN2 from a university, or by masquerading as a "remote outpost" of a university to that university's supplier. "

    Liquid nitrogen is not (oddly enough) some kind of illegal pharmaceutical. For all you people asking where you get the stuff, look in your local phone directory for companies that supply industrial gases. I called a company in my area last summer to ask about buying liquid nitrogen for making ice cream. I didn't have to pretend I was a university or a research lab, and I didn't need a special license. I would need a dewar; they told me I needed to supply my own container for the LN2, and no, they wouldn't sell it to me if I just showed up with a drinking thermos. 

    That's it. Not hard to find or buy.

    1 reply
    user

    last time i checked, the only requirement was that you have the proper equipment. i believe that was a face shield, cryogenic rated gloves and a Dewar jar.

    this was sold as a kit by the gas company for $1000. once you had that, they would sell you as much ln2 as you could drink.

    (ps. no, don't drink it.... I'm appalled i even have to say it for those few who might)

    We used to hire a service called "Eastern Breeders" to perform that particular chore. I always got a laugh when the A.I. technician would warm the little straw full of frozen bull spunk under his armpit. This was only mildly disturbing compared to what he did next with a big plastic bag covering his whole arm.

    4 replies

    oh the childhood memories........."mommie...why is he stickin his arm up its butt?"   "you'll understand when your older"

    lol i watched that a million times

    not disturbing anymore ;)

    good

    wer can i buy the liquid coolingstuff in holland. i wanna try it...

    How much -173F ethanol can you put in your mouth at one time without getting frostbite or cracked teeth?

    Is it safer when frozen than almost frozen?

    If they work with cows,those vets should have it

    hey- if it gets beef to my table faster.

    hey-if it gives us more milk.

    Some people have the oddest ideas of what's fun?