New Scientist has an article entitled "How to make cheap wine taste like a fine vintage." They note that there are many who have claimed to create a magical process to turn base vinegar into liquid gold, but most of them have been fakes. In this case, there seems to be someone who has traded in magic for science. It looks to be something of an old-fashioned technique, as far as science fiction might go, though perhaps classical is a better term. Apparently a chemist from South China University of Technology in Guangzhou named Xin An Zeng came up with the technique, adapting it from a technique from the '80s for treating food. One of the interesting things about the technique is that it's been peer reviewed. Also, it's been subjected to blind taste tests. Also, it's been around for 10 years. I think it's just now being talked about because it wasn't published in a peer review journal until 2008. If I were more of a wine person, I'd plunk down the $31.50 to buy the article and see if I could recreate the setup that makes bad wine tasty. However, I am not, so I'll leave it for some wine geek to recreate. If you see a diy version, please let me know. I do love electricity mixing with food.
Some of you may know that, during the day, I build robots. And while making a car that can drive itself on city streets is pretty cool, I have to admit that I kind of wish I had my own mobile drink serving/mixing robot. But, with the aid of Instructables, I can now build my own BaR2D2.* The build instructions are very complete. It wanders around a party, it has lots of clever, sound-activated lights, it serves drinks, it has cold beverage and ice storage. Oh, just watch the video: Via BoingBoing Gadgets. Preview photo by Kristie Stephens. *- And, of course, you can also build your own. They don't all necessarily have to go to me.
One of my favorite things to do is to make things that people don't normally think to make. If you only know of something as a bottle or a can in a grocery store, then it's entirely likely that you need to try making it at home at least once, to see what it really tastes like. One of the things I'd like to make is some root beer. Not particularly because I've always wanted to make my own root beer, but mostly because a) non-industrialized root beer is really quite tasty, and b) RS Brewing's blog, the Champagne of Blogs has a detailed step-by-step of how to make your own root beer. Woo! The great thing about this setup is that it does not involve a pre-made syrup, but rather has you make your own flavored water and carbonate it. The downside is that it does not involve yeast for the carbonation, so it's not entirely traditional. If you read down into the comments, you can see where some people suggest that yeast would be okay. Of course, it's a short step from this to making any kind of soda/cola/pop/whatever you want. Perhaps some tasty citrus-flavored concoction. Mmmm. via Make.
I've been on a bit of a kick recently trying a bunch of fruit sodas. Well, citrus-flavored sodas, really. So I figured it was time to do something worthwhile with the kick and tell you, my loyal readers, what you can expect from these beverages.