I braved the falling snow and icy roads of Vancouver to attend the sneak peek of this year’s Science of Cocktails. It is one of my favourite events of the year. It combines my love of drinking and cocktails with the joys of exploring Science World with child-like wonder.
Tonight, we would get a closer look at 7 of the participating vendors and what they will be offering on February 6th (the actual night of the event). Three food options, and four creative drinks made utilizing science.
Although it may look like just look like it’s all fun and games, this event is actually in support of a good cause: the Science World Field Trip Bursary. Over the years they have raised funds so that children from underfunded schools can attend field trips to Science World, bus ride and all. And this year are anticipating the total raised to climb to over $1,000,000.
Tonight, all festivities were held in the “Eureka Hall”. A interactive space set up with stations for guests to explore and engage. You had the opportunity to chat up representatives from restaurants/bars, and liquor brands; as they talked you through their food and drinks and the science that plays a part in bringing either before you tonight.
To watch all the fun, check out my latest drinking vlog, where we test out anti-asian glow pills. And what better place that at an event that starts cocktails as the main attraction!
Cam Brown of “Ballyhoo Public House” was preparing whiskey sours with “Jim Beam Black” and a power drill. Jim Beam Black, lemon, pineapple juice, simple syrup, egg whites, and tiki bitters. The trick serves as a great way to make drinks in bulk for a larger crowd.
Bartender Jonathan Smolensky of “Sovereign Wine & Spirit” was utilizing butter and popcorn in a whole new way. The concept is called “fat washing”, where the flavour of butter is infused with “Appleton Rum” and served with coke and malice acid-dusted popcorn. This was my favourite drink of the night in terms of flavour. Zesty lime, savoury salt, and the familiar syrupy-ness of coke cola, all mixed together. The popcorn also made for a great snack.
Bartender Trevor Kallies from the “Donnelly Group” and “Martin Kovalcik from “Glowbal” sweetened their Old Fashion with honey and beeswax. Made with “Lot No. 40 whiskey”, honey bitters, sugar, and beeswax. A strong cocktail that had me puckering.
At the “Boodles” Gin booth, Royston Greatorex of “Sai Woo” was making “cocktail caviar” with reverse spherification. A syringe of honeydew juice gets squeezed into a bowl of citric acid solution, sodium alginate, and calcium chloride. And the end result is little hardened pearls to add into a shot of gin. It made taking this back fun, with the texture of the juice balls to chew through.
And to pair with all these drinks there were also food vendors offering small bites. Like Chef Ellie Jubene and Lilian Chow of “EL PLTR” who utilized their entire station with a impressive spread. A large grazing table featuring their most popular bite sized appetizers, cheese and meat charcuterie, veggies and dip, fruit and salty snacks, and a handful of sweets. You picked and choose your way through the stunning assortment, taking only what you wanted from pigs in a blanket, Mac and cheese, quiches, turkey meatballs, a Greek salad and hummus dip with pita, and a vanilla and chocolate marble cake. They even included more exotic elements like dragon fruit and real honey comb. I was taken aback and got real excited just seeing all the food before me. Served room temperature it was all good. I cannot wait to see what they bring to the actual event on February 6th.
Executive Chef Jasmin Porcic and Sous Chef Mark Amos for “Edge Catering” prepared “Sous vide beef short ribs” with a maple cider glaze, peated whiskey pearls, and smoked butter powder. For the vegetarians they had a smoked mushroom version. The short rib was a moist mouthful elevated by the buttery crisp of the crumbs, and the distinct sharp flavour of the whiskey that was better highlighted with applewood smoke.
And the development and training Chef at the Donnelly Group, Sarah Stewart was on site torching up “Aburi high tea sandwiches” in both white and brown bread. Equipped with a searzall and a blow torch she gave each sandwich an even sear. It was quite the show. Each perfectly rectangular sandwich was stuffed with a fried chicken salad, and topped generously with a spicy mayonnaise. I was impressed by how soft the bread was, even after its toasting. A creamy and gooey stackable snack, that had me wishing they were offered at more high tea salons.
For entertainment there were science demos to shock and awe. Lycopodium Fireballs made from fuel, oxygen, heat, and a willing mouth to blow it all together. From out of a tube came a 2-3 foot fireball, up into the air. We also played with bubbles. They were blown by hand and showcased a rainbow within, when on the light table. And we were then able to put your bartender skills to the test with a blind free flow pour challenge. Guessing how much 2oz is by feeling alone.
And once again you had free rein of the hall to play and explore as you would as any visitor to Science World. Today this included the electro static orb, the giant piano board you play with the feet, and a two way mirror that changes its reflection with light. But we had the most fun standing in front of the heat sensing camera.
With all this only being a 2 hour teaser, I can only imagine what the actual night will be like on February 6th. 4 hours to drink, eat, play, and mingle at your own pace. A cocktail attire party within the iconic ball of Science World. With a long list of participating bartenders and restaurants, there is plenty to keep you busy the duration of the night. So splurge on the VIP tickets to gain access an hour earlier and entry to the VIP lounge. The latter is a designated area with its own exclusive bartenders and restaurants. Ones that regular ticket holders won’t get access to. And based on what I have witnessed year’s past, it is definitely worth the cost, and the donation to this charitable effort.
To get your ticket and learn more on how to support Science World, visit the link below.
TELUS World of Science
1455 Quebec St, Vancouver, BC