Meet the Business Owners Spearheading Alcohol's Avant-Garde

A growing number of bars are leveraging advanced science, emerging technologies and DIY ingenuity to expand the possibilities of cocktail craft and redefine how drinks are engineered and experienced.
Source: Gabriele Stabile

Where others see an empty glass, Dave Arnold sees a blank canvas. Each cocktail Arnold creates at his trendsetting New York City bar, Booker and Dax, is a work of liquid artistry: His Manhattans, martinis and margaritas are shaken and stirred to painterly perfection, revealing new complexities and nuances with each sip.

But a Booker and Dax drink isn’t simply a masterpiece of mixology. It’s also the product of mad-scientist experimentation. Consider the absinthe-based French Colombian, which contrasts conventional ingredients like simple syrup, lemon juice and grated cinnamon with a most unconventional flourish: a 1,000-degree red-hot poker used to caramelize the sugar. Other weapons in Arnold’s arsenal include a centrifuge for separating liquids from solids, a rotary evaporator for low-temperature distillation and a steady supply of liquid nitrogen for precision stemware chilling.

Power drills, centrifuges and blast freezers are tools of the trade for bartender Todd Maul of Café ArtScience.
Image Credit: Wayne Chinnock

“Our cocktail techniques are not

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