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I just bought box of Coca-Cola cans that have not been refrigerated. I have a group of people coming over soon, and I want the Cokes to be cold by the time the group arrives. What is the best method for doing so without diluting the beverage with ice?

I also would rather not put them in the freezer because it requires active monitoring (I do not want the cans to freeze if I forget about them).

  • Is the problem that you don't have ice or that ice doesn't work fast enough? – liebs19 Dec 9 '14 at 19:21
  • @liebs19 Presumably the OP doesn't want the soda to be diluted. – Mooseman Dec 9 '14 at 19:38
  • I can understand that. If they were cooled in the cans and then opened this would not be an issue. I'll post my suggestion as an answer but it does require ice. I wasn't sure if this would be considered. – liebs19 Dec 9 '14 at 19:40
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    OP needs to weigh in on whether or not ice is available for use. – hairboat Dec 9 '14 at 21:51
  • @Mooseman is right; I'd prefer not to dilute the drink with ice. – JSW189 Dec 9 '14 at 22:45
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If you need to rapidly cool beverages that are still sealed in cans or bottles, put them in a mixture of water, ice, and salt. Once the beverages are submerged in the mixture you can stir them to have them cool even faster. The salt melts the ice faster cooling the water more quickly. This only takes a few minutes to cool you beverage.

I've heard this from multiple sources and done it myself. I think there was even a Mythbusters episode where they tried this as well as some other very impractical methods. (Link and comment provided by @Mast - Mythbusters Season 3 Episode 6 "Cooling a Six Pack" - Do note the link is technically not part of any answer whatsoever. The methods used in the video are highly impractical and should under no circumstance be tried at home.)

  • @liebs19 That would be the CO2 extinguisher. That's effectively doing in high speed what my answer proposes: throw a large amount of cool liquid against it. A very impractical idea though, it's expensive to refill and has the same problems as putting them in the freezer (too much and it will freeze). – Mast Dec 9 '14 at 22:14
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The keyword is dissipation.

What you want is a large amount of liquid on the right temperature. The larger the amount, the better (a large amount of liquid heats up less quickly because there's more to heat up. If it heats up too much, it isn't cooling much.). The relative heat of the cans will be dissipated by the liquid. It's important the cans are completely submerged.

Water from the tap is a quick fix, but if you have anything colder around that works as well. Filling the liquid with ice will keep the temperature of the water lower and is usually a good idea as well, if any is available.

If you happen to have a large (preferably filled) container in the freezer, you can throw this in the water as well. It will have the same effect as adding ice (the larger the container, the better). Keep in mind the container probably was there for a reason. However, one need can overrule another.

  • 2
    oh good point, anything in the freezer could be used in lieu of ice to cool the water. Toss a bag of frozen peas in with it, doesn't matter so long as you're ok partially thawing whatever it is (water will rapidly thaw meats so maybe avoid those unless you intend to cook them soon). – Jimmy Hoffa Dec 9 '14 at 21:54
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You can use this method but this requires freezer!! Cover the cans/bottles of beverage with wet paper and keep it in freezer! By doing this cans will chill fast!! enter image description here

more info here

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    I also would rather not put them in the freezer because it requires active monitoring (I do not want the cans to freeze if I forget about them). Wouldn't your answer violate this? – Mast Jun 19 '15 at 11:37
  • @Mast Indeed it does not remove the need for freezer, but does make the "active monitoring" period shorter. – Alois Mahdal Dec 16 '15 at 5:48
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You don't need to cool your drinks, just cool the glasses.

Prepare by having enough glasses in the freezer for your friends, for every glass taken out of the freezer put a new one in so every drink is a cold drink.

This is also a great way for Whiskey snobs to get cold whiskey without adding ice.

  • While this will definitely work it leads to another problem.. makes actually holding the glass unbearable since it is like holding onto ice-cold ice. So also have at least one glove for each guest that will let them comfortably hold the glass without getting frostbite. – CRABOLO Aug 10 '15 at 15:43
  • That works for root beer, but not Coke. Pooring in a icy glass will turn it to foam and ruin it. – JDługosz Oct 13 '15 at 12:28
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An old school method will cool your canned drink instantly. Find a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher, the kind with the big horn on it that projects the gas. Set the can on a surface, preferably outside. Cover it with the fire extinguisher spout and blast it once or twice. It will be ice cold in less than 5 seconds !

  • Just don't put your fingers in front of the horn! – L.B. Jul 17 '16 at 21:53
  • Don't put your fingers on the horn either. It's probably best if people who haven't been trained to use fire extinguishers don't attempt to use them. – Dave Jul 18 '16 at 12:44
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Freeze water in plastic bags or put ice cubes in plastic bags after they have been frozen.

Put the ice in its plastic into the drink, cooled drinks without risk of diluting by melting ice.

(I have seen that most people drink so fast that the ice cubes in the drinks have no time to melt, so your friends might be happy to have normal ice cubes.)

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