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?

How Patrón Turns Technology into Tequila

By Kim Richards | March 1, 2017 |

High-tech has finally made its way to the agave fields of Jalisco, where Patrón is working to leverage tech to bring drinkers around the world closer to the brand. The first technology involves VR, in which Patrón showcases the company,and production facilities in virtual reality. Using a Samsung Gear VR Virtual Reality Headset with a…

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Does Glass Shape Affect the Way a Whiskey Tastes?

By Ivan Lauer | February 28, 2017 |

A common question we get here at Drinkhacker is whether glass shape actually matters; does it really change the taste of your drink of choice? In order to get to the bottom of this, we decided to have a small whiskey tasting, to try out a single whiskey in three differently-shaped glasses and see how…

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How to Use Infused Ice to Upgrade Your Cocktails

By Kim Richards | February 22, 2017 |

Infused ice is a fun way to add flavor to your drinks and add an eye-pleasing touch. To make infused ice, start by using distilled water to mitigate cloudiness. Add any fruit or spice (such as whole star anise, cardamom pods, or cinnamon stick pieces) to water in a pan and boil for a few minutes. This…

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What’s the Difference Between Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Shiraz?

By Ivan Lauer | February 17, 2017 |

So you’re browsing the wine aisle at your favorite store, you have a pretty good handle on what a Cabernet Sauvignon is, and what a Pinot Noir is, but there’s always a group of red wines you’ve never quite gotten a handle on: Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Shiraz. What do these wines taste like, what…

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What’s the Difference Between Cognac and Armagnac?

By Ivan Lauer | February 5, 2017 |

Even if you’ve got a pretty good handle on the world of spirits, Cognac can come across as opaque. It can be hard to tell where Cognac fits into the broader spectrum of spirits, and that’s even before you’re introduced to Armagnac, Cognac’s lesser-known sister spirit. So what are you actually getting when you buy…

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From Barrel To Bottle: How Wood Aging Impacts Whiskey

By John Barecki | February 1, 2017 |

When you contemplate any barrel-aged spirit there are many flavors and aromas that will confuse and astound your palate. Look at any review of these products and you will get my point. A lot of the characteristics you experience come from the internal chemical and biological attributes of the wood itself. Many distillers attribute around…

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Do Sulfites in Wine Give You Headaches?

By Ivan Lauer | January 28, 2017 |

For many wine drinkers, one of the first things they consider when buying wine is whether their bottle contains headache-inducing sulfites. But are sulfites as bad as they are painted out to be? Do they really cause headaches, and if so, how does one avoid them? The term “sulfite” refers broadly to a group of…

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Has This Man Discovered the Secret to “Healthy” Alcohol?

By Christopher Null | December 16, 2016 |

Harsha Chigurupati, a gregarious man and a self-described “technological evolutionist,” may not be a scientist, but he does know a little something about the liver. His family runs a company called Granules India, which Chigurupati calls the world’s second-largest manufacturer of acetaminophen (a widely used but notorious liver-damaging drug), and during his tenure there the…

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Review: Tovolo Sphere Clear Ice System

By Christopher Null | December 5, 2016 |

Nothing makes a better statement in a cocktail than using a single piece of ice to chill it. Up the ante by making that a sphere instead of a cube. Up it again by ensuring the ice is crystal clear, not cloudy. The secret of clear ice was figured out a long time ago: Water…

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Buffalo Trace Completes First Round of Whiskey Experiments

By Christopher Null | November 30, 2016 |

Earlier this year I wrote about Warehouse X at Buffalo Trace and the distillery’s dedication to experimentation with whiskeymaking technology. The first barrels were laid down here in 2013, and this week, 3.5 million data points later, they were cracked open, ready for analysis. I’m pasting the full press release below, but here’s the findings…

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