This Open-Bar Soirée Is Turning Science World Into an Adults-Only Lounge—All For a Good Cause

You still have a chance to attend Science of Cocktails, an annual fundraiser that's become one of the hottest (and most thirst-quenching) tickets in town.

January 17, 2019

By Lucy Lau / Photo: Science World

When local mixologist Trevor Kallies arrives at the fourth annual Science of Cocktails on February 7, it won’t be the typical cocktail shaker and strainer he has on hand. Rather, the B.C. chapter president of the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association will be toting a rust-coloured CO2 tank equipped with a pressure regulator. Why? “It looks badass,” he says.

Of course, the tank, which Kallies will use to produce soda water on-site, also handily illustrates the intrinsic connection between science and mixology, a theme at the heart of Science of Cocktails, which, since launching in 2015, has become one of the hottest (and most thirst-quenching) tickets in town. A fundraiser for Science World’s class field-trip program, which gives underserved kids around the Lower Mainland the chance to visit the museum during the school year, the open-bar soirée will see Science World transformed into an adults-only after-hours lounge complete with 35 of the region’s leading mixologists. They’re tasked with shaking (and stirring) up experimental libations that, in past years, have employed everything from liquid nitrogen to fully functioning laminar jets.

These sips are served alongside food pairings from nearly a dozen of the city’s top chefs, including the Dirty Apron’s David Robertson, Glowbal Group’s Omar Hadi and the Lazy Gourmet’s Jenny Hui, further demonstrating the science—or, as the professionals call it, molecular gastronomy—behind the concoctions that regularly come in contact with our taste buds.

“People want to know how the world works,” notes Scott Sampson, president and CEO of Science World, at a media preview at the museum for this year’s event, “and something as simple as a cocktail has all kinds of amazing science behind it.”

Kallies, for his part, will be making a gin and water that’s carbonated through a process called flash carbonation, wherein still water is poured into an empty two-litre plastic soda bottle. The air in the bottle is forced out with the help of a carbonation rig, allowing the CO2 molecules to bind with their H2O counterparts to produce a fizzy liquid. Gin and citric acid—reprocessed lemon flavouring—are then added to complete the cocktail. “It’s essentially a really labour-intensive way to have soda water,” explains Kallies.

Other participating mixologists include the Keefer Bar’s Amber Bruce, the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Chris Enns and Royal Dinette’s Kaitlyn Stewart, who will prepare potions like smoked Old Fashioneds and Penicillins that apply heat to transform spirits into evaporated mists. Executing techniques that both look cool and result in palatable drinks is no small feat, though the feel-good factor of Science of Cocktails—organizers are aiming to crush the $275,000 raised last year—keeps guests, chefs and bartenders coming back for more.

“It’s a real challenge to come up with new concepts every single year and to create new, fun things for people to see, touch, taste,” notes Kallies. “But it’s worth it, for sure.”

When: Thursday, February 7, from 8 p.m. to midnight

Where: Science World, 1455 Quebec St.

Cost: General admission tickets are sold out; VIP tickets are $289 online, and include early access to bar stations, entrance to a VIP lounge and a charitable tax receipt for $150, among other perks

More info: scienceworld.ca/cocktails

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