Food & Drink

This Machine Freezes Alcohol Into Ice Cubes

Meet the latest crusader in the fight against diluted and lukewarm beverages: Beyond Zero, a super-powered machine that freezes alcohol solid. The machine brings everything from beer to wine to liquor to cocktails down to extra-low temperatures, which standard freezers can’t dream of reaching.

Beyond Zero founder Jason Sherman got the idea for the machine after one too many watery nightclub cocktails. His solution was to create alcoholic ice cubes that would chill a cocktail without overly diluting it. But that’s not the only reason to make frozen booze cubes. “You can take different varieties of liquor or combinations and introduce them into different beers. Or you can [add] liquor into wine,” Sherman told Tales of the Cocktail. Flair bartenders will also be pleased to hear that the cubes smoke slightly when booze is added to the glass, allowing drink mixers to create mad-science lab effects without dealing with liquid nitrogen.

While it’s certainly an intriguing concept, since watery cocktails are indeed a crime, we’re a little skeptical about a few details. First, the machines go for $8,000 a pop. Are extra-alcoholic cocktails really worth dropping that much cash? You can buy two round-the-world tickets for that price tag, but go ahead and enjoy your extra cold vodka instead.

The company also says, “Everyone knows the colder the liquor, the smoother,” which is a little misleading. If you stick a bottle of liquor in the freezer, the viscosity of liquor does increase, giving it a richer texture. But doing so risks muting the flavors and aromas of the spirit. For a spirit like vodka, the most neutral tasting liquor, this isn’t a huge deal. But for a more complex spirit like a whiskey, which Beyond Zero encourages freezing, you’d be missing out on the flavors that reveal themselves at room temperature.

Then there’s that small detail that a frozen cube of 100-proof whiskey would be minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit, which is REALLY FREAKIN' COLD. Remember that traumatizing scene in The Christmas Story? Imagine that you are the kid with his tongue stuck to the icy pole—but it’s a cube of frozen whiskey instead. We’ll stick to whiskey stones.