If Arthur C. Clark was to write a parody of his cult film 2001 Space Odyssey for the future of bartending, what would the drinks look like?

While the story would have to retain acid-tripping black holes, a psycho computer named HAL and Velcro padded slippers, the drinks of the future are a little less certain.

Just what do you think you are doing Dave?

[image:HAL 9000, “Just what do you think your are doing Dave?”]

At the start of the 20th century it was widely believed by the science community that everything important in physics had already been discovered. Next thing we know Einstein publishes the Theory of Relativity, Rutherford splits the atom, we’ve got nuclear fusion, the Big Bang, quantum mechanics, goats bred in test tubes and deep fried ice cream. I’m not sure we can compare bartending with quantum physics – Schrödinger’s cat is both drunk and sober at the same time (physics joke) – but have we really anything new to discover about the cocktail?


Well that was easy to answer. So what will we be mixing? A periodic table of creative elements reticent of today’s spirits and mixers yet with a futuristic twist? Or just more of the same only…different? Thanks to a collection of overcomplicated cocktail menus and get-rich-quick schemes, we can catch a glimpse of the potential future dimension of the mixed drink. So gaze into my Macallan ice ball, and I’ll show you the future…


Visit: vaportini.com

[image: Vaportini.com]

No points for the name but this product is already on the market and making noises at bar shows and online blogs. Simply derived from the principles of an incense oil burner, you heat an infused spirit/s from a candle in the base, accelerating evaporation from which you inhale from a straw until you pass out. Just don’t fall on it.


Unfortunately we will not be stirring sulphurically charged Old Fashioned’s with phosphorous swizzles, but shrubs are definitely making a resurgence. Derived from an old English term for a rudimentary cordial, a shrub is traditionally a means of preserving fresh fruit in vinegar. Sugar and spices are typically included to balance the sour acetic acid in the vinegar which acts on the palate like citrus. It’s a highly aromatic and rich replacement for your common sour while also complimenting of a good mixed leaf salad.


It’s the future of sustainable living and with more than 900,000 known protein rich species on the planet, there’s something for everyone. Mint will be replaced by crickets and the Martini served with three grubs on a stick insect. Next thing you know, hippies will be protesting outside the Savoy in London due to their unethical use of the blind five-toed albino grasshopper in a Manhattan. One thing is for certain though, garnishes will get a whole lot cooler!


death star ice

[image: Two for one’s at the Death Star canteen every Tuesday night]

Ice. We need it to chill drinks but 90% of the time, your first sip does not mirror your last. The laws of thermal dynamics dictates that the more ice in a glass the slower the dilution yet the laws of daft customers dictates they will forever ask for less ice in their drinks. Moreover cubes are inferior as the corners melt first and one large block will always melt slower than many small ones. Therefore – we’ll see machines that produce large, flawless ice spheres in sizes adjustable to their relevant glassware. And they’ll all be made by the Japanese.


Sweet, artificial and brightly coloured cocktails will become the new Tiki. Every major city in the world will have at least one over-priced, over-sweet traffic light cocktail bar with drinks adorned with plastic hanging monkeys and Ghostbusters on loop in the background. Bar staff will refer to each other as call signs from Top Gun like, “High five me Goose” and, “You can be my barback anytime Iceman”.


The bitters of the future. Bars will be championing their own bergamot and quinine tonics to compliment that of the latest locally sourced, corn-fed, free range micro-distilled tofu gin. Schweppes will be in receivership and bars will return to their apothecary roots searching for age old recipes by snake oil merchants and reclusive monks – such as the 1657, Wash Brew Tonic.



Yup that’s right, alcoholic powder. If you haven’t heard of this yet, where have you been? And yup, everyone else thinks about idiots sniffing it too. While the inventors claim benefits for third world countries, hospitals, manufacturers and even the common alcoholic camper, it is here and it will soon be everywhere! Backbar’s displaying sweetshop style vending trays stacked with tablets reminiscent of a cross between the Capsul Company in Dragon Ball Z and Inspector Gadget. My grandad is already leading the charge, mixing his own cocktail of pills twice a day.

In an honest view, cocktails are about fashion not science no matter how many people ask us how we learnt our ‘craft’ or compare us to chefs. While I’d be happy never making another Mojito as long as I live, I can confidently say that it will still be bugging the crap out of bartenders 50 years from now.

As I await discovery as a psychic medium, I’ll retain my status as a medium bartender and continue to mix classic cocktails with as little futuristic twists as possible. But if you ever see someone holding a glass of vaporised blue powdered acid tonic garnished with a dung beetle adorned with a plastic monkey whilst listening to the theme tune from the Ghostbusters, just remember – you heard it here first.

Rusty Hawthorn - Icon This was the Musings of a Barfly by:

Rusty Hawthorn

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