Can science make us better drinkers?


The headline sounds like a prime candidate for Betteridge's Law, but a neurologist and his cocktail-bar creative director daughter are on it.

Nathan Mattise reports from the annual Tales of the Cocktail gathering in New Orleans, "a drinking conference with a science problem."

Perhaps the average barkeep doesn't need to know that the body contains more than 350 receptor proteins solely to process smell (detecting more than half a million odorants, any of which may bind to these proteins for all of a millisecond). But that knowledge coincided nicely with Pamela Wiznitzer's recommendations to carefully consider the aroma of your garnishes. When possible, use scents that intentionally clash with a drink's ultimate flavor (thus creating an alluring complexity).

Among the insights: don't use liquid nitrogen to cool drinks, you might kill someone.