The optimal temperature for chilled drinks
First and foremost, we should try to find out what the ideal drinking temperature is for the beverages in question. Yes, yes, we know that when the sun is blazing outside most of you like to parch your thirst with an ice-cold drink. Scientists, however, discovered that beverage intake on different temperatures could fulfill different purposes at the most. For example, experiments have shown that on a hot, dry day, drinking a hot beverage may cool your body better than a cold drink. But when your ultimate goal is to quench thirst as fast as possible, as a recent study shows, cold and carbonated beverages might be your best choice. This finding coincides with other surveys which prove that the sensation in the mouth plays a crucial role in satiating thirst.
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In this article, however, we rely prominently on the historically evolved serving habits, that reflects the specific qualities of different drinks. Due to their diverse chemical structures, the temperature at which you will enjoy your drink the most will differ from beverage to beverage.
WinesThere is probably no other type of drink where the right temperature is so crucial. As a general rule, it's best to serve white and rosé wines at a cold temperature, around 49-55°F (9-13°C). This causes the wines acidity to become more pronounced, and the wine will be fresher with a lighter taste. When it is too warm, the alcohol becomes dominant, leading to a harsh taste. However, do not over-chill – the wine may lose its flavor entirely. White wines that contain high residual sugar, such as ice wines or Tokaji Aszú wines, are best served at 50-53°F (10-12°C).
On the other hand, red wines are best served at room temperature. But before we proceed, let's answer the question “What is room temperature?” It's not, as you might think, the climate in most of the modern flats. The expression dates back to medieval Europe where it was much more difficult to control the temperature of a house. As a result, our ancestors had to bear a lower indoor temperature, around 60°F to 65°F (15°C to 18°C). It is, incidentally, this temperature that best shows the fragrance of red wines, while also showing off the grape's balanced taste and fruitiness.
Sparkling wines and Champagne are the drinks that you need to keep in the fridge the longest if you want to enjoy them the most. Their optimal drinking temperature is 47-50°F (8-10°C), with sweet aromatic sparkling wines requiring a temperature as low as 46°F (7°C).
If you envisage a bottle of beer on a hot summer day, you may associate it with super cool refreshment. However, depending on the type of beer and its qualities, the precise serving temperature may differ widely. As a basic rule, no beer should be served below 42°F (6°C) as ice-cold temperature dampens its flavor. Though you might enjoy a lager at the lowest temperature (anywhere from 42°F to 48°F (6-9°C)), it is better to imbibe an ale that is somewhat warmer, around 44-52°F (7-11°C). If you prefer stout, you know that cellar temperature is the best choice, that being around 55°F (13°C).
The situation is far less complicated with your favorite soda or carbonated drink: you will experience its full flavor at any temperature. Still, Pepsi and Coca-Cola recommend that their respective products be drunk at slightly different temperatures: according to their representatives, the former is best at 42°F (5.5°C), while the latter should be drank at 38°F (3.3°C). We can probably say that carbonated beverages are best enjoyed at around 40°F (4-5°C).
The jury is still out when it comes to water: your body can benefit from different temperatures depending on your taste and circumstances. Since the ultimate purpose of water intake is the quest for hydration, in this particular case, we considered the event that fulfills the most this function. Accordingly, studies suggest that you can reach the optimum level of hydration if you ingest your water at around 61°F (16°C). Still, as we have mentioned, other studies imply that cold and carbonated water is a better choice when you aim to quench your thirst.
Indeed, juices are best served cold. Still, it is better not to cool them to below 54°F (12°C), as they may lose their sweet fruity taste. The perfect temperature for juices is between 54°F and 59°F (12-15°C).
Although some spirits, such as brandy or whiskey, are best experienced near room temperature, particular types are traditionally consumed cold. As you may have guessed, these are vodka and gin. When you chill them, they get little viscous, helping mask some of their alcoholic harshnesses. Besides, cream liqueurs should be kept in the fridge as the cold can balance the high sugar content they commonly have. Still, you better not to store good quality vodka or gin in the freezer or you will lose all of it flavor. The best temperature to serve them is 32-39°F (0-4°C).