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?

2008 Wine May Offer a Bit More Smoke Than Usual…

By Christopher Null | July 5, 2009 |

Remember all those California forest fires in 2008? Well guess what, you might be drinking them with your next bottle of pinot: And then, biblically, came the blazes throughout the Northern California hills but notably in Mendocino, where the 129 fires of the Lightning Complex blaze would ultimately burn more than 54,000 acres. It was,…

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What Web Users Want to Drink…

By Christopher Null | June 25, 2009 |

Today I did a fun comparison, checking out historical Google search trends for the terms gin, vodka, whiskey, tequila, and rum. While vodka‘s win (based on average search volume since 2004) is no surprise, the fact that tequila was right behind — and has led search volume since late 2007 — was quite a shock.…

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On Decanting Whiskey

By Christopher Null | June 5, 2009 |

Reader Paul Moody writes: Is there any real reason to decant a bourbon? There seems to be a good selection of crystal decanters to be found on the market these days, but are they primarily for style and looks? They are strictly for looks. Decanting wine is done to aerate the wine and minimize the…

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World’s Worst Diet: Red Bull for Eight Months

By Christopher Null | May 23, 2009 |

There are bad diet ideas, and then there’s this one: A woman lost 99 pounds over the course of eight months by consuming a diet consisting solely of up to 14 cans of Red Bull a day, “often accompanying them with nothing more than a handful of dry Honey Puffs.” From Stuff.co.nz: “I just continued…

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Successful Drinking: It’s in the Genes

By Christopher Null | May 11, 2009 |

Why can some men drink so much and create masterpieces of literature and art in the process, while others are turned into simpletons by half a glass of beer? Prospect Magazine has the answer: Beethoven fell under the influence in the later part of his creative life. Among painters, Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon…

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Whisky Goes Nuclear

By Christopher Null | May 5, 2009 |

How do you tell whether an old bottle of Scotch is legit or a phony? Well, you could send it to me and I’ll drink it and let you know… or you could run it through a whisky Geiger counter: Scientists have found that minute levels of radioactive carbon absorbed by the barley as it…

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“Breathe Responsibly”

By Christopher Null | May 5, 2009 |

It’s, to say the least, “a very unusual way to imbibe alcohol,” as one man puts it: A sort of steam room that is filled with a gin-and-tonic mist. You don’t drink it. You just breathe it in. And it gets you a little drunk along the way. Per the Times Online: The mist tastes…

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The Booze Hall of Fame

By Christopher Null | April 2, 2009 |

In 1991, the Guiness Book of World Records got rid of all its alcohol-oriented drinking records (you can figure out why, I’m sure). So leave it to Sloshspot to revive the category — most of which it culled from a 1979 edition of the book. Fun stuff! So who out there can drink a liter…

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Smart People Drink More

By Christopher Null | December 22, 2008 |

That old genius at the end of the bar? Turns out drinking’s in his genes. The Times Online reports on a study linking intelligence to heavy drinking: Research has now shown a link between high childhood IQ and an adult enthusiasm for alcohol that leads in some cases to problem drinking. … This association is…

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This Will Do Nothing Good for Tequila Prices

By Christopher Null | November 13, 2008 |

Unhappy with merely drinking their expensive spirit, meddling scientists have found a way to turn tequila into diamonds. The final diamond film was hard and heat-resistant – properties that could make the diamond useful as coatings for cutting tools, high-power semiconductors, radiation detectors and optical-electronic devices, the scientists explained. They plan to begin industrial-scale applications…

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