Spooky Halloween Drink
Adding some dry ice is the best way to create a tasty, carbonated punch for your next Halloween party.
The next time you have a craving for a sparkling, homemade, carbonated beverage, make your own simply by drawing upon what you already know about dry ice. Besides, it looks great on the food table at your next Halloween party, too. Be sure to follow some basic, safe-handling rules for using dry ice this way and it’ll be a great party. With a little careful lighting and placement of the punch bowl, it’s a simple way to add drama and effect to an already terrific night!
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- Large, fairly deep punch bowl
- Ladle to serve the punch
- Cups to fill for guests
- Apple juice or similar beverage
- Heavy gloves and serving tongs
- Some large chunks of dry ice (You must know how to safely handle dry ice.)
- Metal food strainer (if needed)
- Safety Goggles
- Adult supervision
Fill the punch bowl with the liquid refreshment. Leave about one-fourth of the bowl empty so the “fog” can fill the space and run over the sides for a great effect.
Put on the heavy gloves and use the tongs if needed to load some pieces of dry ice into the punch. The effect will be immediate but let it sit and bubble and burp for a few minutes. This not only looks great but gives the dry ice time to carbonate the punch a little bit.
You can either wait until the dry ice is completely gone before serving the sparkling brew to your guests or cover the remaining ice pieces with a strainer so no one can scoop any into a glass. No one gets any ice pieces (no matter how small) in a serving!
Enjoy your party and your punch safely.
How Does It Work
While the mixture is bubbling and burping, the apple juice is being carbonated by the dry ice. Carbon dioxide gas (CO2) mixes with the juice to make a “sparkling” drink. It also gives it a slightly tangy or acidic flavor. A local hobby or craft store is sure to have a spooky-looking Halloween cauldron that would hold the punch bowl with a large batch of apple juice and dry ice. Usually, you can buy dry ice at a local grocery store.
Dry ice is not frozen water – it’s frozen carbon dioxide (CO2). Unlike most solids, dry ice does not melt into a liquid as the temperature rises, but instead, changes directly into a gas. This process is called sublimation. The temperature of dry ice is -109.3°F (-78.5°C). Dry ice is particularly useful for keeping things very cold because of this low temperature. Dry ice does not last very long, however, so it’s important to purchase the dry ice you need for your party as close as possible to the time you’ll need it. The best way to store dry ice is in a Styrofoam ice chest with a loose fitting lid that allows the CO2 to escape as the ice sublimates. The experts say that, depending on weather conditions, dry ice will sublimate at a rate of 5 to 10 pounds every 24 hours even in a typical Styrofoam chest.
Dry ice is fun and it’s safe to use if all of the safety rules are followed. Just a quick search on the internet will reveal a lot of stupid things people do (or rather used to do when they had ten fingers and both eyes!) with dry ice. The best advice we can offer in this guide is to treat dry ice with respect. Always wear heavy gloves when handling dry ice and never seal dry ice into a container. Dry ice bombs are extremely dangerous and are the cause of many serious injuries every year. Use good sense and you’ll have fun and learn some (really) cool science at the same time.
Remember these safety rules!
- Dry ice is not a toy. It’s for demonstration purposes only.
- Use dry ice only with adult supervision.
- Dry ice must be handled using heavy gloves or tongs. It will cause severe burns if it comes in contact with bare or unprotected skin.
- Always wear safety goggles when handling dry ice. The debris and shards are extremely dangerous to your eyes. When tapping dry ice with a hammer, first cover it with a towel to keep the pieces in one place.
- Never put dry ice in your mouth.
- Never store dry ice in an airtight container. As the dry ice sublimates, gas pressure will build and the container will explode. Make sure your container is ventilated or has a loose-fitting lid.
- Do not store dry ice in your freezer. It will cause your freezer to become too cold and your freezer may shut off. On the other hand, if you lose power for an extended period, dry ice is a good way to keep things cold if you can get it.
- In the unlikely event of a dry ice burn. treat it the same as you would a heat burn. See a doctor if the skin blisters or comes off. Apply antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and bandage mild burns.