Science

Science

Chemical Compositions

Tales of the Cocktail 2014 is just about a month away. As usual, I am presenting this year and I’m going back to my roots, chemistry. The Chemical Compositions session is about what chemicals make spirits taste like spirits. The coolest part is that we will be sniffing more chemicals than a 1980s hair metal band. I’m packing a bag full—9 to be exact—of individual chemical compounds that are core components of a number of […]

Science

Oxidation, Buzz Management & Stepping Out

Tales of the Cocktail is a few weeks away, which means it is time for me to tell you what is going on with me while I am down there. As usual I will be lurking around the Hotel Monteleone and scarfing down some food at Coops or some other delicious eatery. Really, if you want to survive Tales you must eat frequently as random groups of people will usher you off to an event […]

Science

HFCS Research

When you publish a website, you often leave yourself open to public scrutiny, which often leads to “Fan Mail“, as I like to call it. Most of the time I ignore it, but sometimes I feel compelled to reply. This is one of those occasions. Now, the topic is High Fructose Corn Syrup, again, but it has become a kind of crusade for me to bring logic into this odd, enduring, little topic. I basically […]

Science

High Fructose Corn Syrup Pt. II

What is it about High Fructose Corn Syrup that makes it different from other sugars, like common table sugar? Obviously, the sugars come from two different plants corn and sugar cane/sugar beets. But the key factor and the one that causes the most discussion is that the sugars produced from corn are products of a multi-stage enzymatic process that breaks down corn starch into simple sugars. For sugar cane, and sugar beets, the simple sugar […]

Science

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Part I

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is all the rage these days. Actually, its more likely to cause opinionated rage, at least on the Internet. In the summer of 2006, I was going to discuss this topic but got distracted by all the boozy goodness. Then Scott, at Scott’s Rum Pages, brought up the point about HFCS in the Rum and Coke post. This reminded me that I was going to write something about this to […]

Science

Cyanide in Cherries: Pt II

In part one of Cyanide in Stone Fruit, we figured out how much cyanide was contained in fruit pit kernels and their toxicity. To summarize, yes there is cyanide in the kernels and there is enough to harm you. The next obvious question is; can you remove the cyanide from the kernel so it can be used in liqueurs? Additionally, I know that at some point in time I will receive angry emails from advocates […]

Science

Cyanide in Apricot & Cherry Pits

Even before I wrote the maraschino cherry post, some people had asked me whether the quantity of cyanide in fruit pits/stones (apricot, peach, plum, cherry, etc.) was significant enough to harm someone and whether there was a way to remove the cyanide from the kernels. Since the world has a fascination with deadly ingredients, let’s talk about the toxicity of fruit kernels, whether there is any method to remove the toxic cyanide and bust some […]

Science

Fruit Pectin

After writing the article on the Dawn of Tiki, I had about a litre of prepared fruit juice leftover, so I’ve continued to make the drink from the Philippines. Even though I’m on my sixth or seventh one, the drink still has a peculiar property that makes me enamoured with it. I’ve finally figured out one of the unique properties that makes it so enjoyable: fruit pectin. First, fruit pectin is an all natural compound […]

Science

Anti-Bitters (aka Bitter Blockers)

I’ve always like the idea of molecular mixology, but not necessarily the name or some of the end products. The name has been abandoned by most practitioners of the art, but the media refuses to move on. So be it, it’s just a name and if it promote’s better drinks / solids / foams / beads then that’s fine. Hence forth the anti-bitters discussion will be classified as “taste science”. So what the hell are […]