You’ve lit the candles, arranged the centerpiece, and set the table. You’re about to take the entree out of the oven. With five minutes to spare, you’ve managed to prepare an exquisite dinner party before your guests arrive, except—shoot!—you forgot to stick the chardonnay in the fridge.
Just like that, you’ve broken one of cardinal rule of hosting: Always have chilled beverages at the ready.
Not to worry—there’s still time to bring the wine down to the ideal serving temperature. (Champagne and sparkling wine should be served at 40 degrees, white and rose at 50 degrees, and red at 60 to 70 degrees.) All you need is some paper towels and your freezer.
First, wrap the bottle with a layer of dry paper towels, then douse it with cold water. The paper should cling to the bottle, but not be so wet that it’s dripping.
Now pop the wrapped bottle in the freezer for 10 or 15 minutes. Because water conducts heat better than air, the wet paper will help the bottle to rapidly drop in temperature. The trick works on glass, aluminum, or plastic, too.
A word of warning: If you forget about whatever you’re cooling and it freezes solid, it will explode! Set a timer for yourself.
Photo credit: Alicia Cho