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How to rapidly chill a bottle

Whether it’s cooling a cognac or chilling a sauvignon blanc, there’s no need for expensive gadgets to chill a bottle of wine or spirits quickly. All you need is ice or a freezer, a tea towel or a handful of salt. Intrigued? Whether you’ve got half an hour or five minutes, here are the easiest and quickest, do-it-yourself ways to beat the heat and chill those drinks down for speedy, summer sipping.

The ice bucket

The most stylish way to cool a bottle is to fill a bucket with half ice, half water and submerge the bottle to its neck for 20 to 30 minutes for a standard, and 40 minutes for a magnum.

Reach for the salt!

An increasingly common trick is to add salt to heavily iced water in order to help chill bottles more quickly. Salt causes the ice to melt faster, thus allowing the melted liquid to be cooler and have a more chilling effect on anything it touches. A bottle immersed in salty, icy water that’s turned every couple of minutes or so will be cool within twenty to thirty minutes.

It’s a wrap

If you don’t have half an hour but you do have access to a freezer, then try the sommelier’s favourite wine chilling hack: wrap a soaking wet tea towel around the whole surface of the bottle and put it in the freezer. Five minutes or so into the freezing, turn the bottle to make sure more of the liquid touches the cool glass sides. The bottle should be chilled enough to drink within ten to twelve minutes. Make sure you do not forget your bottle in the freezer or it might explode.

Bags of cool

If you’re at the table with food about to be served and need an even quicker solution, then there is another faster, if slightly less elegant, option: pour a portion of wine or spirits into a sealable, freezer bag. Place the bag(s) into a bath of iced, salted water, giving it a shake every so often. Within five minutes, you will be able to pour yourself a glass of perfectly chilled wine or spirits. While you drink this first glass, you could also do the DIY ice jacket or salted ice bath methods to the rest of the bottle…

Pour over ice

Frozen grapes or metal ‘wine stones’ are one way to cool a drink without diluting it, but for the ultimate in chilled summer decadence, seek out a drink that was made to be poured over ice! For bubbles on the rocks, try the luscious Moët Ice Impérial or the ripe red fruits of Veuve Clicquot Rich Rosé. Likewise, flavoured spirits sing over ice, such as the Belvedere Grapefruit Vodka. Intense, fruity and fresh, the flavours of all of these beverages stand up well to the mild dilution from the ice cubes.