Cold drinks for hot weather

This is kind of trivial in a way, but with the temperature in my part of the world (and my office) going through the roof, I've been perfecting my cold-drink-for-the-office technique (although it would also work for a day out and about having fun, of course). Putting a trayful of ice cubes in my drink just wasn't cutting it - and anyway, it's only an option at home. I needed an industrial solution!

I prefer drinking squash to plain water, but this approach is even easier if you just want iced water. I'm finding that a 75ml water bottle (which conveniently happens to fit the most suitable bottle holder that I have) will usually last me through a day at work - and the contents will still usually be noticeably chilled by the end of it - although that's obviously going to depend on how good the insulation is. YMMV.

1. Choose a suitable bottle with a cap of your choice - I like the Tesco Sports top bottles which are sold with water in them - I re-use them, as per a previous post

2. Half fill the bottle with water or squash. If making squash, make it to your normal preference of strength.

3. Put the lid on (!) and lie it down flat on its side in the freezer. If you're not entirely sure whether the lid will hold, lay it at an angle until the contents reach the neck, but not the lid. (It's only half full, so this will be nearly flat anyway.)

4. Leave it to freeze (overnight if possible).

5. Once frozen, remove from the freezer, and top the bottle up with more of the same (i.e. if you're using squash make more up to your strength preference again).

6. Enclose in an insulated drink holder.

The frozen half of the contents will chill the newly added liquid, but because you didn't freeze it all, you can still start drinking it as soon as you like, and without the problem that the squash and water tend to melt at different speeds, giving variable strength. And because so much of it was frozen in a single block, it'll stay cold much longer than a drink with added ice cubes would.

By laying the bottle down to freeze, you get maximum contact (and therefore chilling) between the frozen contents and the liquid contents, so all of the liquid content is nicely chilled straight away. It also means the bottle is less prone to splitting as the liquid freezes and expands.

I have a few different bottle holders that fit different sized bottles, but this one is both my largest one and plastic, rather than neoprene or other materials, and allows the bottle to be used whilst in the case. The neoprene and other fabric type ones just get soggy from the condensation on the bottle. By using a plastic lined one (and maybe a bit of kitchen roll inside it at the bottom to soak up any serious condensation) I avoid getting a puddle under the bottle on my desk, and wet hands, and drips in my lap every time I take a sip - all of which drive me nuts. And of course, the insulation helps the frozen part to stay frozen for longer. The shoulder strap is a useful extra for carrying.

Sadly, I've had it way too long to remember where I got it from, but I'd guess most large supermarket seasonal picnicware shelves would be a good place to start looking.
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