How About an Ice-Cold Drink in the Office, or the Library?

WARNING: Don’t shake the ice cubes too hard, and use a thermos with a metal interior. Mine was made of plastic and the interior isolation just imploded!!!!

“I remember my father tellin’ me some very valuable advice about drinks,” said Ridcully. “He said, ‘Son, never drink any drink with a paper umbrella in it, never drink any drink with a humorous name, and never drink any drink that changes colour when the last ingredient goes in. And never, ever, do this—‘”
He dipped his finger into the beaker.
It came out with one glistening drop on the end.
“Hogfather” by Terry Pratchett

Ice cube goodness … perfectly isolated, from hot temperatures and sensitive equipment.

The last couple of days were hot — too hot for my taste. Especially at work. Given that the quarantine station next door seems to be suffering from a very low survival rate, or crappy filters (uhh … what are the animals dying from, exactly?), or both, opening the windows is out of the question (and nope, this wasn’t in the brochure).

Using the electric fan in my office is one way to try to keep cool — externally. But what about having a cold drink? Something with ice cubes. I’m not sure whether we have a freezer with an ice box somewhere in the building, but that’s not needed anyway. Because it’s fairly easy to bring some ice cubes with you to the office.

Just put some ice cubes into a thermos flask.

Might be obvious, but I didn’t make that connection until a few days ago. While thermos flasks are usually used to keep drinks like tea or coffee hot, a thermos flask does not keep its contents hot, per se. It just isolates it. Hot things stay hot, but cold things stay cold. So you can put ice cubes into a thermos flask and they stay ice cubes for a couple of hours. You can also use the rest of the space and fill it up with sparkling mineral water (or soda) after adding the ice cubes.

Thermos flask filled with ice cubes.

After first emptying the cold water/soda, you can remove the ice cubes. The cup-lid of a thermos flask is useful for this purpose. You might need to shake the thermos flask a little — the ice cubes tend to stick to each other. WARNING: Don’t shake the ice cubes too hard, and use a thermos with a metal interior. Mine was made of plastic and the interior isolation just imploded!!!! Better yet, fill it with water and let the ice melt in it!!!

Thermos flask imploded after shaking it too much. BTW, the ice cubes are brown because I used a mixture of high-energy syrup (caffeine + guarana) and water for the ice cubes.

BTW, you can also simply fill half of a plastic bottle with water and put it into the freezer. Once the water is frozen you can fill up the rest with soda or sparkling mineral water. Better than any ice cubes. However, I would not recommend taking this bottle with you to work, at least not in your bag. The water in the air would condensate quickly around the plastic bottle and water in a bag which might contain important papers or technical equipment — a very bad idea.

Thermos flasks on the other hand do not lead to condensation — they isolate the content (if water condensates around it, something is seriously wrong). So I have no problems with putting a thermos flask filled with ice cubes and water into my work bag. There might be a risk that the thermos flask might leak, e.g., if the lid gets loose, but I’m willing to take it. And I make sure the flask stands upright in my bag. The only long-term problem I see is when rubber or similar materials are used in the insulation. In cold temperatures, the rubber does not expand quickly and it might get damaged. Well, I’ll see whether it works in the long-run.

Now I can buy a can of soda along the way to the office and once there — yeah, a drink with ice cubes. 🙂


P.S.: It’s no my idea to use a thermos flask this way. There’s a beautiful Calvin & Hobbes comic strip where Calvin uses his thermos flask to smuggle snow into the school cafeteria. Yeah, snowfight! And what works for snow also works for ice.

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