Every beverage, whether alcoholic or not, has an ideal temperature, and most bars and restaurants never learn them all. After a long day in the sun, few things taste as refreshing as an ice-cold lager, but even among beers there should be a varying scale of temperatures.
- Beer. Bar refrigeration is often set at a standard temperature for all beers: close to freezing or at least frosting. Though some beers might be better served warmer (at 45F or higher) so as to bring out all the flavors, most people will agree that beer is best when its lightly frosted.
- Wine. The rule of thumb to keep red wines at room temperature and whites in a refrigerator was developed centuries ago, when "room temperature" meant in a drafty, medieval hall. When a wine is served too cold it restricts the flavors of the wine, while warmth just makes it taste like alcohol. For bar refrigeration standards, reds should generally be served at 60F, whites just a tad cooler at 55F.
- Water. Backpackers returning from Europe will often complain about the lack of ice cubes throughout the continent. Water is served not hot but warm over there, and Americans like their drinks frigid. Nutritionists say drinking at a natural temperature is best for your body, and only glacier water occurs as naturally cold as Americans prefer. To promote proper absorption and to keep the taste buds from numbing, water, like white wine, should be served at a cool (not cold!) 55F.
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