Freezer Door Cocktails Are the Ultimate Make-Ahead Party Drinks

Learn all about the trendy cocktail-making method from cookbook author J.M. Hirsch.

We’re at the time of year when gatherings are plentiful. And while hosting friends and family is a lot of fun, trying to manage a thoughtful food and drink menu for a crowd can be a bit overwhelming. Sure, pre-made items are great, but sometimes you really want to wow your guests. Instead of serving typical wine or canned beverages this year, consider the freezer door cocktail. If the term is new to you, it’s all-in-one pre-mixed drink right in the liquor bottle that can be made ahead and left in the freezer until ready to serve (or to just have a delicious cocktail on hand at all times).

As with a lot of food and drink trends, I discovered this genius idea via TikTok in some now-viral videos by J.M. Hirsch, editorial director of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street. Author of multiple cookbooks, including Pour Me Another: 250 Ways to Find Your Favorite Drink, I caught up with Hirsch to learn more about these brilliant beverages and how to make them at home.

espresso martini in glass

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What Is a Freezer Door Cocktail?

Freezer door cocktails are batch cocktails that you build in the bottle. “It’s a fun and easy way to have cocktails ready whenever you need them,” Hirsch says. The concept is easy. According to Hirsch, you take a full bottle of liquor —whichever is the primary liquor of the cocktail you are making—and pour off just enough to add the other ingredients needed to make a full bottle of the drink. The bottle is then stored on the freezer door, keeping it chilled and ready to drink.

“What I love about freezer door cocktails is that it allows people to enjoy better quality pre-made cocktails,” he says. “Most canned cocktails aren’t particularly good. But when you batch it yourself you get to select the ingredients and adjust the flavors to suit you.”

Where Did the Freezer Door Cocktail Come From?

Freezer door cocktails aren’t a new concept, but only recently caught on. “Until a few years ago, most people didn’t give much thought to pre-made cocktails,” Hirsch says. “But there has been tremendous growth in canned and other so-called ready-to-drink cocktails. That has made people more familiar with the idea and kind of primed them for the idea of freezer door cocktails.”

How to Make a Freezer Door Cocktail

Just like baking requires science, putting mixed drinks in the freezer to stay chilled but not frozen also takes strategy. “You have to balance the freezing point of the various liquors against the other ingredients you add,” Hirsch says. “Most liquors freeze at around -16°F. But adding sweeteners or watery ingredients, such as juice, raises the temperature at which it will freeze, bringing it closer to the 0°F most home freezers are set to. The closer you get to that, the more likely your cocktail will freeze or turn slushy.”

With this in mind, Hirsch had to get a bit creative when crafting cocktails for the freezer. For example, he made an espresso martini for the freezer, but went with instant espresso powder rather than brewed espresso in the traditional recipe. 

Crafting the Freezer Door Cocktail

Another thing to consider when making a batch cocktail in the freezer is dilution. When making cocktails, they’re usually shaken or stirred with ice. This chills the drink, but dilutes it as well, which is a part of the finished flavor. 

Interested in learning more freezer door cocktail recipes? You can check out the videos on TikTok (3.9 million views and counting!) and stay tuned for Hirsch’s book dedicated to freezer door cocktails coming in Spring 2024. “I’ll be spending the next few months sorting out what and how to freeze all our favorite cocktails,” he says. “My goal is that people can enjoy making and drinking them without having to worry about the freezer door math!”

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