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I Tested A Bunch Of Popular Boozy Hacks (And Have Some Thoughts)

Let's just say that some worked way better than others.

Hannah Wong/BuzzFeed

We're full-swing into summer, which means one thing is for sure: You're probably spending as much free time as possible eating and drinking outdoors.

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And while a cold beer or a glass of rosé is wonderful, sometimes you want to shake things up.

Since there's no shortage of clever tips, tricks, and hacks to upgrade your next day-drinking event, I decided to test out a dozen of the most popular. Here's how they all went down!

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed
Hannah Wong/BuzzFeed

1. Make beer ice cubes to keep beer cold without watering it down.

The idea: An ice cold beer is great, but after a few minutes in the hot sun, that crisp brewski turns lukewarm and gross. The solution: Freeze some beer in ice cube trays and keep them on hand. Whenever your beer starts to warm up, drop a few cubes in a glass. They'll chill your drink without watering it down.

Did it work? Kinda.

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The results: Beer freezes, but it doesn't freeze that well. I poured a can of beer into ice cube trays and let it sit in the freezer over night. The next day, the beer had turned solid, but it was more the consistency of snow than rock hard ice. Either way, the beer ice cubes definitely helped keep my drink cool and delicious. Or if you're feeling adventurous, you could also throw the beer cubes into the blender and make a beer slushy.

2. Use frozen water balloons to chill down drinks (and entertain a crowd) instead of ice.

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The idea: If you don't have room to store a ton of ice or you just don't feel like buying ice, you can freeze water balloons and put them in a bucket, picnic basket, or cooler to keep drinks cold. Not only are the water balloons cute and colorful, but your guests can have a water balloon fight once they defrost. Or, if there are kids at your summer get together, the water balloons are a good way to entertain them while the ~adults~ have their own fun.

Did it work? Sort of.

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The result: TBH, I thought this was a silly idea at first, but after freezing the water balloons, I'll admit they looked very pretty. They're a fun and cheap way to add a pop of color to a summer get together, and they're a built-in party game once the ice melts. That being said, the water balloons are very fragile once frozen. Touch them in the wrong spot, and the latex balloon will easily rip. If you're up for the extra effort of filling up a bunch of water balloons, give this a try, but I'll most certainly be sticking to a bag of ice next time.

3. Run cheap vodka several times through a water filter to make it taste better.

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The idea: I have no idea where this urban legend started, but I've read on countless blogs that running cheap vodka through a water filter will make the vodka taste smoother and burn less. This seemed pretty implausible, but hey, I believe in miracles.

Did it work: Of course not.

The results: The internet has a lot of great ideas. It also has a lot of bad ideas. This falls into the latter category. I bought a bottle of the cheapest vodka I could find and ran it through my Brita filter four times. It tasted like nail polish remover to begin with, and it still tasted like nail polish remover after a few runs through the filter. (Also, my Brita still smells like vodka, so there's that.) Do yourself a favor and just buy the slightly nicer vodka or embrace the crappy stuff.

4. Keep sparkling wine bubbly by placing an upside-down spoon in the bottle.

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The idea: Who knows wine better than the French? So when my Bordeaux-born co-worker told me a hack she learned back in France for keeping Champagne effervescent, I had to see it for myself. After doing some research, it seems the trick is pretty prevalent. Apparently, placing the handle of a spoon in an open bottle of champagne helps keep it fizzy. Now I'm no scientist, but supposedly the metal from the spoon cools the air inside the bottle, which prevents the bubbles from escaping. Could this possibly work IRL?

Did it work? Actually, it sort of did.

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The results: I opened a bottle of Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) in the morning and poured a glass. Of course, it was extremely bubbly. I put a metal spoon in the bottle and let it sit on the counter for about six hours. When I poured a glass six hours later, there were still lots of bubbles, and the Cava still tasted pretty decent. I can't give you any scientific explanation as to why this occured, but I can say when a French person tells you how to drink wine, you should probably listen.

5. Use wet paper towels to chill warm beer bottles ASAP.

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The idea: There's nothing worse than realizing you forgot to chill the drinks right before your guests arrive. But luckily, the internet swears by a few hacks for chilling beers almost instantly. One is to wrap a paper towel around each bottle and stick them in the freezer for about 10 minutes. When you take them out, they should be freezing cold.

Did it work? You bet.

The results: This trick worked perfectly. After about ten minutes in the fridge, the beers felt like they'd been chilled for hours. The only thing to keep in mind is that you'll need a bit of freezer space for this. (PS: This trick works for quickly cooling down wine bottles, too.)

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6. Sangria Jell-O Shots

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The idea: Jell-O shots are always, always, always a crowd pleaser. Maybe it's the nostalgia factor or maybe it's because booze tastes better in dessert form, but in any case, the people love them. So when I saw a recipe for upgraded sangria Jell-O shots that combine two of everyones favorite boozy treats, I had to try them for myself. All you really need is wine, unflavored gelatin, fruit juice (or liqueur), and your favorite fruit. As the recipe instructs, you just simmer wine and add it to the gelatin. Then, add even more wine and fruit juice juice and pour it over chopped fruit in small plastic cups (you can buy these at any party store or on Amazon). Refrigerate them over night and in the morning, you'll have sangria Jell-O shots.

Did it work? Yesssssir.

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed
Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

The results: The sangria shots came out GREAT. I served them to a group of friends and they were devoured almost instantly. I ended up making them with a mixture of rosé and white wine in addition to a little pomegranate juice and triple sec for sweetness. I left them in the fridge over night and the gelatin had set perfectly by the next morning. I make sangria all the time, but these Jell-O shots were a really fun way to shake things up. Not to mention they're a lot of fun to eat and they taste awesome.

7. Two-Ingredient Wine Slushies

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The idea: Remember when frosé (aka frozen rosé) broke the internet? Both delicious and refreshing, it's a great concept. But as I went through lots of frosé recipes, I found many to be over-complicated. You shouldn't need any fancy ingredients to make wine slushies. In fact, you really just need two: Frozen fruit and your favorite kind of wine. I decided to put this idea to the test and see how it would taste.

Did it work? Oh yes!

The result: I decided to make my wine slushies with rosé wine and frozen strawberries because the strawberries would add a splash of color and some sweetness. I popped both ingredients in a blender (along with a few ice cubes) for about two minutes and then poured the mixture into a glass. It tasted great and was incredibly refreshing. The best part about these frozen drinks is that you can really customize them using any of your favorite ingredients such as Prosecco and frozen raspberries or Sauvignon Blanc and frozen mango. If you prefer sweet drinks, consider using an off-dry Riesling or Moscato.

8. Boozy Melon Balls

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The idea: Fruit and booze is usually a good pair. So why not turn fruit into a boozy snack? I found a recipe for vodka-infused melon balls, and figured I had to give them a try. Not only do they look very pretty, but they also seem like a delicious adult snack on a hot day.

Did it work? Yes!

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The result: These drunken melon balls were actually really good and refreshing. They're very easy to make: You just scoop your favorite kinds of melon into little balls using a melon baller, coat the balls in alcohol, and cover them overnight in the fridge. The next day, the fruit will have absorbed most of the alcohol and the result is a boozy treat. I followed the recipe and used vodka with some triple sec to add sweetness, but you can get creative with whatever alcohol you like best. Next time, I'm trying this with tequila, lime, and simple syrup.

9. Drunken Oranges

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The idea: While we're on the subject of boozy fruit, I figured I shouldn't stop at drunken melon balls. I saw a couple blog posts for vodka-infused oranges, and since they only call for two ingredients (oranges + vodka nips), I figured they were worth a try. (Plus, if they worked, I could feel like I was actually being semi-healthy while drinking — vitamin C! Lol.) The instructions are simple. Just cut a small hole at the top of the orange and poke the knife around the flesh so that it makes a few holes in the orange. Then, insert the vodka nip into the hole and let it sit over night.

Did it work: Sadly, no.

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The results: I had high hopes for this creation, but unfortunately the vodka never infused the orange. I let the oranges sit in the fridge for two nights hoping all the alcohol would all get absorbed, but most of the vodka stayed in the nip. Maybe I didn't poke enough holes in the orange to make it porous. In any case, the orange hardly tasted like any alcohol. This hack will not get you tipsy, and you're probably better off just making a mimosa.

10. Easiest Three-Ingredient Cocktails

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The idea: I always find myself shying away from making cocktails at home because I assume you need a lot of ingredients like bitters, simple syrup, herbs, and spices. So when I came across this hack for three-ingredient jam cocktails, I was intrigued. Suppsedly since jam is both sweet and fruity, you can use it in your cocktails to replace any fancy juices and sweeteners. The best part about this hack is that you probably already have jam sitting in your fridge or pantry.

Did it work? Yes!

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed
Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

The results: I tried a few different jam cocktail combinations: gin + triple berry jam + lime; tequila + raspberry jam + lime; and vodka + peach jam + lemon. Each was surprisingly very good. I used about two tablespoons of jam, the juice from a whole lemon or lime, and a 2 ounces of liquor and stirred everything until it was more or less combined. I didn't use a cocktail shaker, but if you have one I bet it'd be even better. While I suspected these cocktails would be very strong, they were actually very well balanced and a great mixture of sweet and tangy. Next time, I would add a spritz of club soda as well. This was a great (and lazy) way to make solid cocktails without a ton of effort or ingredients.

11. Fruit Ice Cubes

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The idea: Fruit ice cubes are all over Pinterest, and they always look so beautiful. You just put your favorite fruit/herb combinations in ice trays, fill them with water, and freeze them. According to this blog post, the trick to making the ice cubes completely see-through and beautiful is to use boiling hot water when making them.

Did it work? Mostly.

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The results: My ice cubes weren't quite as beautiful as the versions I'd seen on Pinterest, but they came out pretty well and they tasted delicious in a glass of wine. I tried making the ice cubes two ways: one, using boiling water à la the Pinterest instructions, and the other using cold tap water. The tray that used boiling water came out only slightly clearer. I used a combination of berries, which basically turned my wine into instant sangria and kept the drink cold. If your goal is to use these cubes for cocktails, you could also make them with liquor such as elderflower, triple sec, or even brandy instead of water.

12. Easiest Vodka Gummies

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The idea: Boozy gummy bears are a perennial favorite. After all, what's better than candy and booze in one? I've seen lots of recipes around the internet for rosé gummies, but they require you to use molds and they're pretty time consuming. That's where these fool-proof vodka gummy bears come in. According to all the recipes online, these are super straight-forward. Pour vodka over your favorite gummies in a bowl, then cover them and refrigerate overnight. What could go wrong?

Did it work? LOL NOOOPE.

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The results: When I uncovered my gummies the next day, they had basically turned into one giant blob of gelatin. I tried cutting a piece of the gelatin and they didn't taste terrible, but they looked very unappetizing. My hunch is that refrigerating the gummy bears actually caused them to congeal, and I should have just let them sit unrefrigerated overnight. In any case, I'll probably stick to the sangria Jell-O shots and ditch the vodka gummies in the future.

What's your favorite boozy party hack? Let me know in the comments! 🍹