It’s easy to forget that making cocktails and alcohol is as much a science as it is an art form. In fact, the original distillers were actually alchemists looking for a so-called “water of life.” And recently, there’s been a new wave of innovation, giving some of our favorite drinks a high-tech garnish.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of Don Julio Tequila. To create something special, master distiller Enrique de Colsa embarked on a mission to craft a bottling with the complexity of an añejo but with the agave flavor and clarity of a blanco. His solution was to take a spirit that had matured for 18 months in oak and carefully filter out select notes and all the color. The result, which was just released, is a truly unique hybrid.
What’s inside a liquor bottle usually gets most of the attention, but brands are also starting to focus on what’s left over after the production process. A number of pioneers, like Maker’s Mark Bourbon , Bruichladdich Scotch Whisky and Bacardi Rum, have systems that anaerobically turn liquid waste from the still into fossil-fuel-replacing biogas, which is then used to make the next batch of alcohol.
Cocktails on Tap:
While draft beer long ago lost its novelty, bars and restaurants around the country are beginning to feature mixed drinks on tap. For instance, Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen in San Francisco now stocks a keg of homemade Negronis, and El Cobre in New York has one full of Dark ‘n Stormys. At first we were skeptical, but a few sips of the Jasper’s concoction assured us that this was definitely better living through science.