Is Your Cocktail Ready for a 3D Garnish?

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(image: Philipp Moosbrugger)

Self-driving cars, suborbital space tourism, human head transplants… Pfff! We’ve seen the future, people, and it looks like this: 3D cocktail garnishes.

At a recent tasting event in New York City hosted by Scotch whisky brand Auchentoshan, guests got an eye full of what might just be the next wave in drink tinkering, a machine that builds three-dimensional garnishes straight into your cocktail.

Here’s how it works: A gleaming white robot arm perched at the end of the bar injects—by way of a long and not unintimidating needle—tiny dots of gelled liquid straight into the middle of your drink. Within seconds, a fully formed globe, pyramid or dodecahedron appeared, suspended in the cocktail.

Even when guests swirled and tilted the glass, the tiny pieces stayed together, like a well-behaved lava lamp.

(image: Philipp-Moosbrugger)

The show came courtesy of Austrian start-up Print a Drink, whose founders came up with the technology while still in college. “We realized no one had tried this particular technique with food,” said co-founder Benjamin Greimel. “And we thought it would work very well for cocktails, so we created it.”

Others have taken a crack at 3D garnishes, most notably chef and molecular gastronomy guru José Andrés, who in 2014 collaborated with MIT to create tiny 3D-printed gelatin boats that scooted around your drink.

Print a Drink has enjoyed early success in Europe by providing its clever cocktail enhancements to events. The next goal, Greimel says, is to design a more compact, and affordable machine so that, perhaps, someday soon you can walk into your favorite bar and find a mini-Death Star (or the bar’s logo) suspended in your Negroni.

Locations: New York City
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