Climate Change and Cocktails

Climate Change and Cocktails took place twice in 2013 as part of the Science Museum’s programme of public events discussing climate change. To provide some light-hearted relief in the face of a serious and distressing subject we combined serious science with a stiff drink.

Alchemist Dreams were commissioned to produce three cocktails to accompany a talk on the science of climate change, each representing a different chemical process behind it. These were our final designs with names chosen by the Science Museum Team.

Greenhouse pHizz: A lime, cardamom and szechuan pepper liqueur mixed with spring water. The cocktail is chilled and carbonated using dry ice as a basic introduction to carbon dioxide and its contribution climate change. The dry ice turns the plain spring water into soda water in-situ.

Tipping Point Tonic: A chocolate, ginger and butterfly pea flower liqueur. To represent the acidification of the oceans, the audience were served a blue liqueur and a small bottle of tonic. The blue colouring in the liqueur is a natural acid-base indicator so, when the tonic is added, the carbon dioxide dissolved in it causes the cocktail to change from blue to pink.

Climatini on the Rocks: A strawberry, oolong and bergamot liqueur mixed with soda and served in a sugar glass. The cocktail included two elements of climate science at once:
The clear, slowly melting glass represented the melting polar ice caps. The walls of the glass also contained small bubbles and depending on the exact position of the bubbles a glass might fail quite suddenly after anything between five and twenty minutes. This represented the balance between certainty and uncertainty in climate predictions. We knew that the glass would fail but because we did not know all the fine detail (where exactly the bubble was in any glass) we could not say exactly when. Just as with climate change we know that the world is warming on average but we cannot accurately predict how that will affect a particular day in a particular country.

The whole evening was rounded off with some liquid nitrogen ice cream made on stage and served with a raspberry, juniper and rose liqueur poured over the top.

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