Drinking Science

The production of alcohol probably began by accident, but today it is a highly scientific and increasingly well-understood process, whether that’s fermenting beer and wine or distilling spirits. In this section we discuss questions around topics such as the accelerated aging of spirits, when and why certain products spoil, and even whether absinthe can make you go crazy. A lot of our coverage here is experimental, with deep dives into everything from glassware to various types of beverage cooling systems.

Top Drinking Science Posts:

Experiment: Ice vs. Whiskey Stones vs. Tilt Chilling Sphere
Does Absinthe Make You Hallucinate?
What’s the Difference Between a Pot Still and a Column Still?
All About Dusties: 1970s vs. 2018 Bourbon Tasted Side by Side
Does Glass Shape Affect the Way a Whiskey Tastes?
How to Build a Better Bourbon: The Science Behind Buffalo Trace and the Lessons of the Single Oak Project
Cork vs. Screwcap: Here Comes the Science
Why Are Some Spirits Rested in Stainless Steel?

Malcolm Waring

Sustainability and Scotch: Old Pulteney Distillery Manager Malcolm Waring

By David Tao | September 29, 2023 |

Malcolm Waring has spent years thinking about water. Waring started with Pulteney Distillery in 1990, and after working his way up the production ladder, he became Distiller Manager, a title he’s held for 15 years. As the leader of the team behind Old Pulteney’s core and limited expressions, his responsibilities focus on production capacity and…

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Empire Rye Doc Poster

“Fire, Water & Grain: The Story of Empire Rye” — How a New York Spirit Got Its Own Documentary

By David Tao | August 6, 2023 |

Whiskey is (usually) a slow business. New categories develop only sporadically as distillers explore corners of the market while introducing consumers to new flavor profiles. While emerging categories like American Single Malts and Indiana Rye are creeping into our drinking vocabularies, one relatively new category is getting its moment in the sun with a new…

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The Top 10 Whiskeys of All Time (According to ChatGPT)

By Rob Theakston | June 30, 2023 |

For better or worse, one thing folks agree upon is that the future of publishing will be influenced by the use of artificial intelligence and software such as ChatGPT. But just how good is it at developing a list of the greatest whiskeys of all time, and then reviewing them? We (Rob and Chris) took…

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Book Review: The Ice Book: Cool Cubes, Clear Spheres, and Other Chill Cocktail Crafts

By Rob Theakston | June 10, 2023 |

Switching from 2022’s remarkable volume on doctors and distillation, Camper English sets his sites on writing the ultimate book about one of his passions: ice. Readers of his long-running site Alcademics know this to be one of his biggest areas of study, and The Ice Book takes some of the ideas found in some of…

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San Felice Wines

How Climate Change Is Transforming Wine: An Interview with San Felice’s Carlo De Biasi

By David Tao | June 8, 2023 |

A hotter climate will impact every branch of the beverage world, but nowhere is the change being felt more quickly than wine. Warming temperatures, new pests, and extreme weather events have already pushed winemakers to rethink how they approach everything from  vine cultivation to blending. That’s especially challenging for heritage winemakers at scale, as they…

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Introducing Tubes, a New Single-Serve Wine System

By Christopher Null | December 7, 2022 |

Purchasing and opening a bottle of wine is a big commitment. With 5 or 6 glasses in a bottle that can easily cost hundreds of dollars, it’s easy to understand why the wine world is so intimidating to people. Bet wrong and you’re out a small fortune — and possibly wasting a whole lot of…

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How Does Terroir Impact California Chardonnay? A Deep Dive at Chalk Hill

By Christopher Null | May 29, 2021 |

Terroir is a monster of a topic, and during a recent online tasting, our friends at Chalk Hill took a deep dive into the question of how micro-terroirs impact the winery’s chardonnay, offering three different bottlings from the 2018 vintage, each pulled from a different part of the 1285 acres that make up Chalk Hill’s estate,…

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Tasting Maker’s Mark’s New Private Selection Stave: Roasted French Mendiant

By Christopher Null | May 3, 2021 |

The Private Selection program at Maker’s Mark is one of the most unique in the bourbon business, the idea being that customers can take a standard barrel of Maker’s Mark, then put 10 additional staves in the barrel, where they finish the whiskey for 9 extra weeks. Private Selection — no longer called Private Select —…

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How Long Does Vermouth Last?

By Christopher Null | April 1, 2021 |

Reader Evan asks (in a nutshell):  Does vermouth go bad? Grab that bottle of vermouth that’s been sitting open in your liquor cabinet for a year and take a sip. Yeah, it goes bad. Real bad. Vermouth is basically just wine, after all. But how long does it last after you open it? Conventional wisdom…

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How Much Do Bitters Matter in a Cocktail?

By Christopher Null | November 24, 2020 |

A couple of dashes of bitters swimming in a glass full of booze. How much of a difference can it make if you choose aromatic vs. creole, chocolate vs. orange, cucumber vs. rhubarb? Well, to help get to the bottom of the mystery of how much of a role bitters play in a cocktail, The…

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