12 June 2008

How to speed up chilling a pitcher of Kool-Aid

Veteran Parenthacker Duane's got the playdate beverages covered:

So you've got a house full of playgroup kids on a hot day, and you've just exhausted your supply of cold drinks. Here's a quick way to get a pitcher full of something cold in a hurry for those of us without the cold water dispenser on the refrigerator door:

  • Fill pitcher half-full with ice cubes.
  • Dump drink mix of your choice in pitcher (yes, over ice cubes). Sugar free, lemonade, Crystal Lite... whatever works for you.
  • Fill with water. When filling from the faucet, ideally use spray attachment to prevent mix from clumping on cubes.
  • Get out wooden spoon and stir. For best results, stir while filling.

The energy from the water and the stirring will substantially melt the ice cubes in short order, and your next batch of drinks will be far colder than they would have been if you'd just plopped an ice cube or two in a glass and served it that way.

Related: Torani syrup helps the water go down

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speaking of chilling: a great way to cool off juiceboxes/cans/bottles quickly is to add salt to the ice in the cooler/bucket/whatever. You should use 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup of salt per quart of ice. Rock salt is usually used because it is cheaper, but table salt works faster.

The salt lowers the temperature of the ice and pulls heat from anything that might be in the ice (like the juice pack or your last warm beer). Old fashioned ice cream makers (does anyone else remember cranking them by hand or am I an old-fashioned ice cream maker myself?) work on the same principle.

It is important that the beverage container be non-insulating for this work: so metal, glass, etc are ok - styrofoam not so much. The paper in juiceboxes are somewhat insulating, so you will be able to enjoy your own frosty beverage while your kid is still waiting for his drink to get cold.

Great thoughts, Duane!

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