Is there a more quintessential image of summertime cottaging than sitting on your dock (or deck, or beach) with a cold drink? Doesn’t matter what kind of drink it is—alcoholic or not, sweet and fruity or plain and simple, pop or water—as long as it’s cold, it says “cottage.”
But how do you make sure your drink stays cold? What if you’re out fishing and want a cool soda to quench your thirst? Here are five hacks to make sure your nicely chilled drink stays that way.
It seems obvious, but cold drinks stay colder longer. Pre-chill your beverages and your cooler so less energy is wasted cooling them down once they’re packed. If your drinks are room temperature, wrap them in a damp cloth or paper towel and throw them in the freezer for 15 minutes—just don’t forget them there.
Pack and store them properly
Add drinks to your cooler, then ice: cold air travels downwards. Crushed ice will cool your cans and bottles quickly, while block ice lasts longer. Keep your cooler out of the sun, and pack blankets or towels around it to insulate it further. Finally, don’t empty the water that collects as the ice melts—it actually insulates your drinks better than ice on its own. Adding salt to the water-ice mixture ups the cold factor even further.
Insulate your drinks
Yup, those foam beverage sleeves actually serve a purpose—they keep condensation from forming on the outside of your bottle or can.. If you don’t have something made of foam, a rolled up facecloth should do. (If you’re feeling hungry, consider making your own can cozy out of Rice Krispie treats, which insulate surprisingly well.) Beer cozies are particularly important in humid weather, which increases condensation. No cozies? Consider decanting your beverage into an insulated bottle.
OK, these hacks aren’t exactly high tech, but they do the trick. especially if you want to keep a drink cold without watering it down. These whiskey stones (best to use in glasses), the Chillpuck (perfect for a can) and the patented Chillsner Corkcicle (designed for bottles) are cooled in advance, then placed in your beverage to keep it nice and chilly without adding extra water.
Get in touch with nature
Unless you’re cottaging in the Caribbean, chances are the water around you—lake, river or creek—is colder than the air. Voila—instant fridge. For best results, wrap your drinks in a sock (this speeds up cooling), submerge them in cool water and anchor them so they don’t become beverages for beavers. You should have cool drinks in about 10 minutes.
But remember: booze and boating don’t mix. In Ontario, which has some of the strictest impaired boating laws in Canada, if you’re going to use these tips to keep your alcohol chilly, make sure you’re enjoying them on dry land or in a docked/anchored boat that has permanent cooking, sleeping, and toilet facilities.