Mystifying the Demystified

[by Mike]

As John introduced, we absolutely love it when people take a scientific perspective on cocktails. Not only are two of our passions combined into one, but our expertise in one of those passions (science!) opens up the possibility of our making a contribution to the other (booze!). On the other hand, that expertise makes us particularly vulnerable to snobbery.

You know that almost inevitable feeling of disappointment that accompanies a poorly made cocktail at a less than reputable establishment? That's the same feeling I get when I see an article with a poor explanation of scientific principles or abusing data analysis.

To be fair, the former is somewhat delicate. The basic arguments are solid, but the description and application of "entropy" is lethargic. Taking from every bad introductory text on thermodynamics, the authors anthropomorphisize molecules as particles striving to be free when the proper description is a little more subtle but far more enlightening (don't hesitate to request more information, especially over drinks).

The latter? Let's just say that failing to properly calibrate an instrument or posting "errors" without any further description should be as immediately horrifying as a shaken martini. The use of Excel is more like reaching for a cheap triple sec: it'll do in a pinch but if you're going to take the time to make a drink then you might as well make it right.

Of course I'm being particularly picky here. The articles were great fun (seriously, who can't appreciate a thermocouple at the bottom of a Boston shaker?) and I look forward to further scientific endeavors into the world of cocktails.

I just wish there were more scientists involved. We're always looking for a good time.

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