In case you missed it, the 2019 Science of Cocktails at the UC Davis Tahoe Science Center was a huge success! The February 1st event was the perfect combination of good food, unique cocktails, and intriguing science discussions. The annual Science of Cocktails fundraiser benefits the UC Davis Tahoe Science Center and all proceeds support innovative science education programs and exhibits.

When guests walked in, they were greeted by the sounds of DJ Kyle Railton and the sight of him spinning on the boat exhibit. Next to him, Madonna Dunbar and Joe Hill from the Tahoe Water Suppliers Association provided refreshing H2O choices while sharing the science behind water testing.

On the main floor, guests learned about polymers through blueberry-lemon-layered Jell-O shots. TERC researchers Brandon Berry and Scott Hackley explained watershed science with the help of an ice luge as Kristen Bowles of Tahoe Blue Vodka prepared Tahoe Blue Mules. The smell of sautéed prawns from Big Blue Q lured people to the Mysis Research station where Brant Allen talked of the latest TERC research from out on the water.

In the main room, guests could choose from an assortment of science-related beverage options. Fermentation was a classic hit, with beer provided by Alibi Ale Work and wine from Robert Craig Winery. Guests explored their own perception of taste and how latent heat relates to margaritas. Vaporized cocktails, known as vaportinis, attracted guests to guess which drinks they could taste through pressurized cloud-in-a-bottle. The Pioneer Cocktail Club’s Brian Nelson and Savren Thompson impressed with their unique Centrifuge Clarified Punch, and gave TERC’s Anne Liston a great opportunity to talk about her fatty acid research. Color-changing pH ice cubes and a dirty-looking-but-delicious Stormwater Sour helped League to Save Lake Tahoe’s Emily Frey and Sol Nunnally to discuss issues facing the lake.

Upstairs offered whiskey tastings and classic cocktails served by Miles Hendrickson and his team from Incline Spirits. Kim Vail provided instruction for DIY bitters making, while Emily Carlson’s kombucha and ginger beer was a hit. TERC researchers Steven Sesma and Aaron Vanderpool wowed the audience with liquid nitrogen demonstrations, freezing everything from balloons to ping pong balls. At the end of the evening, hot coffee from I.V. Coffee Lab and a sundae-buffet of Susie Scoops Ice Cream were the perfect way to wrap up the fun event.

Down to Earth Composting, a Reno-based compost service, helped to make this a zero-waste event, providing bins for organic waste and educational information on composting. Men Wielding Fire served delicious sliders and appetizers to pair with all of the cocktail options.

This event would not have been possible without the help of over 50 volunteers that ran the stations, washed dishes, and helped serve the food and drinks. Special thanks to all the sponsors named above, as well as Sierra Nevada College, for their contributions to this event.

Don’t miss out on the fun next year! We are already planning the 2020 Science of Cocktails, and just like a wine with the right balance of sugar, acids, and phenolic compounds undergoing complex chemical transformations, it is only getting better every year.