Liquid Intelligence The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail

review by Caitlin Griffith
November 11, 2014

The most ambitious of the three is Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold. Arnold, founder of MoFaD, the Museum of Food and Drink, runs Booker and Dax, a sort of mad scientist’s laboratory for drinks, hidden behind Momofuku Ssäm Bar. The dark space is a magnet for cocktail aficionados who crave adventure; they come to watch the bartenders employ any number of wild and intricate methods to achieve an exceptional drink. The centrifuge in the basement is just the beginning.

Arnold’s book isn’t a conventional collection of cocktail recipes; rather, it’s a primer to applying scientific methods to liquid ingredients in the service of creating a better drink. In Arnold’s view, “It is impossible to make a good gin and tonic using traditional techniques.” His current version requires clarifying lime juice and sourcing quinine sulfate USP for a simple syrup, though that’s likely to change given his constant tinkering. As for a Daiquiri, he employs nitro-muddling.

Whether or not you actually take up the challenge of Arnold’s scientific approach to cocktails, his cheeky voice and obsessive tendencies make for amusing reading.

This review appears in the print edtion of the October 2014 issue.
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