Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bitters-Free Baran Modification of the Bourbon Old-Fashioned

All right, Andre, I'll bite. Now that I know what I'm supposed to do, I figure I'll tell the internet about the Baran Lab modification of your bourbon old-fashioned, which I suppose will be retired in short order.

As Andre said, PhD chemists have a love-hate relationship with alcohol consumption. The directer of undergraduate research at Michigan once told me she was fascinated by chemists' abilities to consume alcohol at conferences. While some of those chemists might have strong opinions about mixing drinks, here in La Jolla, we make due with what we have.

Now, for my glass, I usually prefer either a cheap plastic cup that comes with our Arrowhead spring water coolers, or Dane's Li ACS mug when he's not around. As Andre says, if it holds fluid, it's good enough for me.

As for the sugar, I could always walk down to the hospital cafeteria and grab a packet of sugar or artificial sweetener, but that saps away valuable lab time. Instead, I reach for Emily's 5 kg bucket of stevioside. One of the benefits here is that you just have to use the teeny tiny tiniest amount (no #gramscale here, kids) to sweeten the drink. Plus, as CNN has pointed out, it's chemical-free that way.

So, with the teeny tiny amount of stevioside in Dane's cup, I add my bourbon. Really, this came from Dane's desk, too. Like columns, we share whiskey here. Andre says 2 oz, I say 60 mL; that way, I can use a big syringe and one of the sterile needles that Fisher sent us.

Oil, you say? Well, instead of fresh citrus, I brought a California clementine to eat on Monday, and since I haven't eaten it yet, it'll have to do for the modified bitter-free old-fashioned. I don't have any utensils, so I just like to rip it apart like a barbarian and throw the pieces in. Toss in some ice from the ice machine, swirl it around, and you've got everything you need to stay at work a little longer.

Why no bitters? I left them at home. So you know what Andre, I guess that's why I never seem to run out.

Now, drink up.

Just to be clear, this is a satirical blog post. Don't use laboratory equipment to prepare drinks. That's blasphemy. And there's no such thing as a "bitters-free old-fashioned". That's just whiskey and sugar water, Dane.


  1. You've got it all wrong, gin old fashioned all the way. But if gin just isn't cutting it alone, a pipette tip of pinene does wonders. To class it up a bit try beta-pinene, you can really taste the price difference.

    1. I recently discovered a gin sour w/ bitters aka the Fitzgerald (, and its been blowing my mind, nightly, as of late.