Drinks of the Week: Engineered Cocktails

Billed as a “Stampede for geeks” the Beakerhead festival is running in Calgary through Sunday, Sept. 15. Events across the city, such as today’s Sustainival — a “green” carnival featuring rides powered on renewable energy — celebrate art, science and engineering.

This year, part of the festivities include Engineered Eats, a series of special dishes at seven local restaurants that show off the latest food trend: molecular gastronomy (that’s industry-speak for getting scientifically fancy with food). Because cocktail culture in Calgary keeps growing, bartenders at those restos have gotten their geek on too, by coming up with engineered cocktails to complement the eats.

I attended an Engineered Eats sneak preview earlier this week and was impressed by the creativity of local mixologists.

This cinnamon-infused shot comes in a sphere of ice that you crack open with a mini mallet. Inventive!

This kaffir-coconut shot comes in a sphere of ice that you crack open with a mallet.

Event host Muse showed its inventiveness by re-imagining my favourite childhood refreshment, the push-pop. The Kensington restaurant slushified a tequila sunrise, added a pinch of cayenne and some sous-vide fruit gel, then devised a way for the resulting mass to become spicier as you pushed it to the top of the somewhat leaky push-pop device. CHARCUT created a cognac Manhattan and topped it with a vanilla-apple foam. And Raw Bar raised the bar on presentation by injecting its delicious kaffir-coconut-cinnamon concoction into a perfectly round sphere of ice. It was a little confusing as to how I was supposed to drink it until bartender Christina Mah handed me a little mallet with which to crack it open.

I wouldn’t reccomend making any of these complicated cocktails at home, unless you have a chemistry lab in your basement. Instead, all are available at the participating restaurants through Sunday. Here’s the complete list:

  • Candela Lounge: Reverse rhubarb mojito
  • CHARCUT Roast House: Autumn in Cognac
  • dtf (Downtownfood): Gin sour
  • Muse: Tequila sunrise push-pop
  • Raw Bar at Hotel Arts: Kaffir-Coconut Cocktail
  • Taste: Black & white Russian
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