Playing with our drinks at the Science of Cocktails 2014

SoC14 Press Pass

Just a week into my blog and I have already joined the press corps.  Well, I must admit I cheated a bit.  I just got home from the Science of Cocktails fundraiser event at the Exploratorium in San Francisco where I went as a guest of Playground Dad himself, Mike Johnson.  With over 300k followers on Twitter, Mike gets to go anywhere he wants.  And, he is my brother.


We had a great time.  I haven’t been to this relatively new Exploratorium space at Pier 15 on the Embarcadero, have you?  It’s massive and incredible.  It was especially impressive to see how they transformed this science/tech/geek playground for kids and families into a straight-up nightclub for SF’s young and fabulous. Here is what happened tonight, according to the event’s press release:

The fundraising event transforms the museum into a laboratory of libations, and gives curious cocktail fans the opportunity to get a brainy buzz all in the good name of supporting the Exploratorium’s education programs…[it] brings together physicists, master distillers, chemists and acclaimed mixologists for a party that educates as well as entertains.

As a die hard whiskey fan, it felt a bit like the vodka folks were the cool kids at the party.

As a die hard whiskey fan, it felt a bit like the vodka folks were the cool kids at the party.

The event was exactly this, dead on.  The brainy part was intriguing to me.  Familiar national brands like Bulleit and Ketel One along with independent local brands like St. George Spirits and Small Hand Foods, were all charged with stretching their scientific creativity to invent unique cocktails to share with the curious fans.  And although it was intriguing (one table had a drink that featured “orange air.” Not kidding), it wasn’t the most accessible kind of drinking.  These weren’t the kind of drinks that made me want to have one after another and dance and play and laugh with my homies ’til dawn.  All of this is okay, mind you.  I am kinda old and have to get up early in the morning.

The most fascinating part of the event for me was seeing grown ups in chic clothes playing around in the Exploratorium like little kids.  This museum has super cool exhibits that allow you to explore, tinker, investigate and wonder.  It was quite a sight to see women balancing in 3 inch heels while holding something foaming in a cocktail glass trying to figure out how that Giant Mirror was making them appear upside down.  The space itself is what made the drinking extra fun.  The novelty of it all.  I may not order a Ramos Gin Fizz made with dry ice and powered egg at my favorite bar, but it was a blast to be at the museum while it was being made.

The Exploratorium during the day after the curious cocktail fans have gone home.

Photo Jan 24, 9 51 15 PMI must say that I did discover a very accessible and VERY delicious spirit while at the event tonight.  Charbay, based in the Napa Valley, makes two types of whiskeys that are distilled from beer.  One from Bear Republic’s Racer IPA and the other from their Big Bear Stout.  These were ridiculous…never tasted anything like it.  Everything you love about drinking beer all wrapped up in a whiskey package.  This guy, Marko, is a master distiller for sure.  He told me I could buy it at Ledgers in Berkeley.

I will and I will experiment with it and get back to you.


About the Author


Social Entrepreneur. Writer/Blogger. Theater teaching artist. Amateur mixologist. Girl Advocate. Writer. Fost/adopt mama. Learner. Playful Idealist. Find me on Twitter @lynnjohnson.

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