Friday, 4 March 2011

The Science of Cocktails

My background is science - I might be a manager now, but I have a degree in science, a PhD and I've done 3 yrs as a postdoc - all in Genetics. I love science - and can't understand why everyone doesn't. I remember being incredibly disappointed when my kids came home from school and told me that science was "boring'. How can it be I would ask, and then they told me how it was being taught, and I believed them. Apparently they weren't allowed to blow things up, or bury dead badgers till they rotted, or chase mercury round a bench....all things that I did in science lessons.

Over the past few years I've been very disappointed in how undervalued science has become, and how it's been represented in the media, so I'm so pleased that a group of very enthusiastic science students here in Sheffield have formed Science Brainwaves, an organisation dedicated to bringing science to everyone. I've been to a few of their events including a talk on chance by Brooke Magnanti, but tonight was perhaps the most enjoyable. The Science of Cocktails was a great way to start the weekend!

We started with a champagne cocktail, and then learnt about how alcohol is produced, including a taste test comparing cheap vodka produced by a continuous distillation process, and an expensive vodka produced using pot distillation. The cheap stuff was better! We also tasted whisky and learned why you should never put ice in it but always add a splash of water (it's all to do with esters...), and how to mix a good vodka/gin/fruit juice cocktail.  And - the most important lesson - how to avoid a hangover.  That one's easy. Don't drink.

If you do drink, the paler the drink, the better you'll feel. Drink water, take Neurofen, eat bananas (for potassium), and eat a fry up if you can stand it - you need the glycogen.

Good luck to Science Brainwaves - they deserve our support -  a great night, and I've got the Neurofen and bananas ready for the morning!

No comments: