Good Eats Reloaded Gets Loaded

Alton Brown’s “Kentucky colonel” southern-gentleman cosplay and accent during the mint julep segment were perhaps not the best choice for the current trigger-word-happy climate. Not much meat to this one, although I liked the clear ice cubes and the dedication to the late Deb Duchon. Pity he didn’t go into the “Mpemba effect”, which is more of a Good Eats-ish thing than just making some cocktails.

No doubt part of the reason he just referenced it and moved on is that it doesn’t seem to be a particularly well-defined or well-tested claim. The original claim seems to be that a container of hot water will start to freeze sooner than an equivalent container of cold water, which is often misinterpreted as “will freeze faster”. Test results have been ambiguous, with a lot of uncontrolled variables depending on how the tester decided exactly what to test (evaporation, convection, freezer temperature, humidity, volume, container shape, etc, etc).

Alton does give a practical reason to start with hot water: less dissolved oxygen makes the resulting cube clearer.

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