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Saturday, July 23 • 3:00pm - 4:30pm
Cosmic Cocktails: The Final Frontier?

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It’s a hard historical truth that where human beings go, drinks follow. Explorers loaded their ships with ale and beer before they’d even consider setting sail. Jacque Cousteau enjoyed wine in his underwater lab. And now cocktails are going cosmic, as space becomes the newest place alcohol is being mixed and prepared—and will one day be enjoyed. The marriage between outer space and alcohol has been going on for billions of years. Astronomers already knew that there is free-floating ethanol swirling through the interstellar medium. Just this year, investigators discovered that Comet Lovejoy, which sweeps through our solar system every few thousand years, is made up in significant measure of alcohol and ice—a great starter for the most naturally occurring cocktail if ever there was one. More important to the hospitality industry is the new push toward space tourism, with mixologists and distilleries looking for ways to develop and consume cocktails in space—not just for the benefit of eventual cosmic vacationers, but for manufactuers back home who want to learn more about the chemistry of their drinks so that they can offer ever more variety of flavors and experiences. In 2012, the Ardbeg Distillery flew small amounts of its whiskey distillate mixed with charred oak aboard the International Space Station to simulate the barrel aging process in zero-g. An identical control study was run on the ground. The result was two different mature whiskeys with two very different flavor profiles—both delicious. A California-based company has developed a 3D-printed martini glass that uses ribbing and surface tension to prevent a zero-g cocktail from simply floating out of the glass. More recently still, the Savoy Hotel’s Beaufort Bar flew one thousand copies of its menu to the edge of space aboard a high-altitude balloon and then recovered them, a way of bringing a small brush with space to the bar’s very demanding customers. Studies aboard the space station—even ones not directly connected to cocktail development—are revealing secrets about the physics of carbonation and convection, of how the simple act of shaking or stirring changes liquids in zero-g, and how flavor sensitivity is affected as well. All of that basic science has applications both both on and off the Earth. Join Claire Smith-Warner (amateur space geek), Jeffrey Kluger (co-author of Apollo 13 and science editor for Time magazine) and Tristan Stephenson (author of The Curious Bartender) to explore the history of alcohol in space and the ways those experiences can help us develop better, more interesting cocktails on Earth. The presentation will include some extraordinary footage from the space station showing just how otherworldly the behaviour of water and carbonation can be in zero-g. You’ll never look at liquids the same way again.

avatar for Claire Smith-Warner

Claire Smith-Warner

Head of Spirit Creation & Mixology, Belvedere Vodka
Claire Smith-Warner is Head of Spirit Creation at Belvedere Vodka and has been working with alcohol in its various forms for over 15 years. Committed to discovering new ways to drink ‘better’, Claire has developed a range of sugar free and 100% fresh fruit flavoured vodkas for... Read More →

avatar for Jeff Kluger

Jeff Kluger

Science Editor, Time Magazine
Jeffrey Kluger is the science editor for Time magazine and Time.com, principally covering science and social issues. His newest nonfiction book is Apollo 8. His newest novel is Freedom Stone, a young tale set on a South Carolina plantation in 1863, also published in 2011. He is the... Read More →
avatar for Tristan Stephenson

Tristan Stephenson

Author, The Curious Bartender, Fluid Movement
Tristan has been involved in the hospitality industry for 16 years, as a chef, waiter and bartender. After leaving Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant in 2007, Tristan took a role as a Brand Ambassador for the Reserve Brands Group, training bartenders and consumers on the delights... Read More →


Saturday July 23, 2016 3:00pm - 4:30pm CDT
Iberville Room at the Hotel Monteleone