At the 5th annual Science World fundraiser Science of Cocktails, Vancouver food and drinks pros battled to smoke, sphere and freeze-dry the best flavours
If you gratefully left beakers, test tubes, flasks and droppers behind with chemistry class, Science of Cocktails might make you want to pick them up again. Local chefs and bartenders use far-out molecular gastronomy and mixology techniques to produce unique sips and bites, which are judged in a Best Dish and a Cocktail Competition, as well as a People’s Choice category.
While exploring around 50 food and cocktail tasting stations throughout Science World, hundreds of attendees could see up-close fire and ice experiments in hot and cold, the science of vapour in making alcohol clouds and the effects of the Rubens Tube apparatus, which uses an ordinary speaker to translate sound waves into spectacular columns of flame. Guests could also play at being a bartender for a night, in an accuracy-dependent free-pour challenge, by measuring the acceleration of their cocktail-shaker technique and watching how “intoxication goggles” simulate impaired dexterity.
Matt Benevolli, formerly of Nomad, won the Cocktail Competition with his Renovatio (the Latin word for rebirth), which used grappa, Odd Society Bittersweet Vermouth, grapefruit juice, peel and bitters plus his own coconut and blanched almond milk.
Other cocktail highlights included the Tito’s Vodka robotic Russian, dispensed by a custom-build BarBot; a Lot 40 rye Old Fashioned beeswax-washed in a wax “egg” within the bottle; a slushy Mering-O-Tang featuring Martini red bitter; a Vortex Negroni, stirred to perfection by a MakerLabs Vortex machine and a Laminar jet shooting out a perfect stream of Alberta Pure Vodka Collins.
Winner of the Best Dish was chef Michael Chan of Peake of Catering for a lobster terrine with crisp, shattering “crystal” bread and miso powder. The People’s Choice dish was Donnelly chef Brian Zuzartee’s aburi sushi-inspired high-tea sandwiches. Guests also lined up for a chance to try delicious reverse-spherification melon and prosciutto balls that resembled egg yolks by Parallel 49 Brewing chef Aubrey Pingitore and liquid-nitrogen Matsutake mushroom ice cream by chef Dennis Peckham from Notch 8.
“Science of Cocktails is an evening for us to celebrate the city’s top talent in bartending and culinary expertise—and more importantly, the result of this amazing event fully funds Science World’s Class Field Trip Bursary program,” said Janet Wood, President & CEO of Science World. Through ticket sales, a silent auction, by-donation coat check and 50-50 draw, the event has raised $1.2 million over five years for the program that allows classes from underserved schools to visit Science World by covering some or all of their admission and transportation costs. More than 30,000 students will have benefitted from the program by the end of this year. We’ll raise a glass to that!