As summer rapidly approaches, so does the season of that thirst-quenching rapture in a glass: the gin & tonic.
It's hard to improve upon the perfection of a well-mixed G&T. The astringency of a decent, middle-shelf gin weds so happily with the tart, chemical fizz of tonic water. It's a genteel cocktail hearkening back to the gloriously romantic (if tragically colonialist) days of the British Empire, when Englishmen answered adventure's call by filling trade-administrative positions in far-flung, humid locations for the East India Company. The benefits of gin are obvious but, in addition to the tonic water's quinine-infused anti-malarial properties, the addition of a lime wedge rich in Vitamin C practically makes the G&T a health drink!
Now, I'm a thirsty person -- particularly when there's no R in the month -- and so it's seldom that I allow much ice to melt in my own personal gin & tonic. However, for those who prefer to sip their cocktails slowly and abstemiously, the folks at Kaiser Penguin have been hard at work tackling the problem of watered-down G&Ts due to melted ice cubes.
Their solution? Instead of traditional water-based ice cubes, use cubes made of frozen gin & tonic. It's brilliant!
They've compiled a convincing array of charts and graphs demonstrating how G&T ice cubes keep your gin & tonic at an optimum temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit without diluting the mixture. Not even carbon dioxide can do that trick: According to the study, dry ice chills the beverage neither sufficiently nor quickly enough to satisfy a true G&T aficionado.
Still, their method incorporates all the ghostly sublimating fun of CO2: Dry ice must be used to make the G&T ice cubes which, evidently, contain too much alcohol to solidify completely in a standard kitchen freezer.
Troublesome? Perhaps. But it sounds like an educational experiment to me. If, like me, you are always on the lookout for ways to incorporate science into your patio soirees, this is a perfect opportunity. Why not distribute clipboards, labcoats and thermometers to your guests, so that they can gather their own data? Then, as a fun party activity, everybody can use their data points to calculate a best-fit regression (probably following an exponential-decay model). Whoever ends up with the smallest least-squares error sum wins a prize!
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