We've all been there. You've invited a few friends over — or even house full of them — and have realized that you haven't chilled your drinks right before your guests arrive. What you have on your hands is a true party emergency. So, how do you chill your drinks in time for you to be able to chill out with your friends without feeling like a bad host? Read on to find out.

Method 1
Method 1 of 2:

Chilling with Salted Ice Water

  1. The thicker and more insulated the bowl, the better. It should be able to trap the cold water and ice mixture. Add as much ice to the water as you can, but not so much that it prevents the entire beverage container from being submerged into the water. A 50/50 mix of ice and water is a good rule of thumb. If you just need to chill one or a few drinks, this is fine. If you have to chill many drinks, you're better off using a cooler or even your bathtub.
  2. A small handful should do. The salt will disassociate into its constituent sodium and chloride ions. The water molecules, being polar, will orient themselves accordingly. This is work, and work requires energy which comes from thermal energy in the water, thus reducing the ambient temperature further.
  3. Stirring the drinks will help the heat transfer out of your drink and into the ice solution more quickly.
  4. The temperature should have fallen dramatically in a very short time. If it needs more time chilling, stir the remaining drinks in the salted ice water for another minute or two.
  5. It should now be about the perfect temperature to quench your thirst -- and the thirst of your guests. Just be careful: if you put in a carbonated drink like a soda, give it some time to settle before you pour it.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 2:

Chilling with a Wet Paper Towel

  1. If your drink is small, you may only need to use half a paper towel; if your drink is larger, a full one or even two.
  2. Try to make sure the paper towel stays wrapped around the drink.
  3. The paper towel will be partially frozen; keep it on your beverage if you want it to continue cooling down the drink. If you are using the drink in presentation, remove the wet paper towel before serving.
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Community Q&A

  • Question
    Is it normal for my mouth to be cold after taking a drink of hot chocolate?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    Yes, the hot chocolate increases the temperature of your mouth, making it more sensitive to colder temperatures, for instance the air.
  • Question
    Is it OK if I touch the salt water and ice on accident? I do not want to get burnt.
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    Don't worry; if you touch it, it won't cause injury.


  • Carbonated cans may become pressurized after rapidly stirring in the ice water. Opening cans before the carbonation has a chance to settle may cause an overflowing mess.

Things You'll Need

  • Beverages in cans or bottles
  • Bowl
  • Water
  • Ice cubes
  • Salt
  • Thermometer (Optional)

About This Article

Tested by:
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wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 66 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 715,132 times.
14 votes - 93%
Co-authors: 66
Updated: November 14, 2021
Views: 715,132
| Drinks
Article SummaryX

To cool a drink fast, first wet a paper towel with cold water until it’s completely soaked. Then, wrap the paper towel around your drink so it’s fully covered. Put it in the freezer for 15 minutes. When you take it out, it will be chilled and ready to drink! To learn how to add the right amount of water and ice to your bowl to quickly cool your drink, keep reading!

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