Many people around the world come home after a long day at work and find themselves enjoying their private time sipping on their favourite sundowner. You might even be sipping on a beer or a glass of wine right now, which could mean that you’ve been wondering about the temperature of the beverage in your grip.

Some say temperature is everything.

Depending on whether your beverage is chilled, straight from the ice making machine or warmed from years in some old dusty corner wine rack, temperature will powerfully alter the experience you have with your beverage. A few degrees can completely improve the aroma of a specific wine or the warmth of a Dopplebock. “You’re not drinking Dopplebock correctly if you’re chilling it like a pilsner”, my Dad used to always tell me as a child. In order to share some of that wise wisdom with you I have collected several important rules-of-thumb to help you make every beer or glass of wine taste like the first.

The trick to Beer

Rule-of-thumb: The stronger the beer, the warmer.

It is generally preferred by the sophisticated beer drinker to have his dark, strong ale at around 7°C – 11°C at its coldest, then experiment from there. If you’re drinking something lighter, like a Hansa Pilsner, then its best at around 6°-9°C. The reason you want your dark warlock née Viking ale somewhat warmer is because there are aromas you want to take in. This is a beer that is consumed for more than just refreshment; this is a beer you want to savour.

The right way to drink wine

Rule-of-thumb: Cool Red, Cold White, Ice cold Sparkling.

Just like beer, but possibly even more so, the temperature of your wine should be taken seriously. If you find yourself invited to a high brow intellectual hang jam and you don’t want to look stupid because you froze the red, then listen closely.

Red wine is not best at room temperature. It is supposed that this myth came about because of a mistaken reading of an 18th century usage of the term “room temperature”. Anyway, the gist of the matter is, room temperatures vary, but red is arguably best enjoyed at about 15°C. Keep it cool in the fridge for about an hour before you plan to drink it. You can then leave it out, to warm gradually. If red wine is too warm it has been found to have too much of an alcohol taste, slightly cooler helps hold those tastes together.

Cold white; think of an old angry white woman, or snow white, think of snow white and the seven dwarves having one of their poetry reading nights. Happy just popped open a nice bottle of Chardonnay and Sleepy asks to read first, he never lasts very long at these things. What temperature should that bottle be at? Well, it should be around 10° to 14°C. This is cold enough when left out to produce sweat on the bottle. It is advised to leave your bottle to sweat as it changes the flavor of the wine, giving you its full experience.

If you have some sort of ice system or you’ve just bought an ice maker, this is your moment; you got the girl back to your place, the candles are lit, the mood is set, all you need now is the coldest bottle of sparkling wine you can find.  Keep it at around 4.5°C to 7°C and you won’t have to worry about your wine being anything less than satisfactory.

Maintaining your cool

Most people take for granted how warm or cool their glass of wine should be, or at what temperature their beer releases most of its flavor. Ice making machines can help when you need to get things a little bit cooler fast. It’s worth checking out but Scotsman, whose head offices are in South Africa, have a variety of ice makers for sale that are pretty stylish. You can get a variety of ice shapes and units that produce from 32kg of ice to well over a hundred in a 24hr period.

Final rule of thumb: It’s all about temperature when serving a good drink.