August 24, 2018
I’ll have the synthohol whiskey – make it a double, on the rocks.
Pretty much the entire scientific establishment is devoted to crap like curing GRIDS or coming up with new bugman gadgets for the masses. So it’s kind of hard to get excited over their “progress” these days.
But once in a while, I see something that makes me glad I’m living in the 21st century, and will get to witness some truly important milestones in human achievements.
For more than two years now — from the second floor of a repurposed warehouse in the Dogpatch district of San Francisco — the young scientists and chemists at Ava Winery have been attempting to save the planet and conduct commerce by producing wine without grapes or fermentation. Recently, the company rebranded and shifted its focus: now known as Endless West, it is attempting to make brown spirits without the hidebound utilization of barrels for maturation.
You heard that right: synthetic whiskey.
We’re entering a bold new era, boys. Hang on to your hats.
In Endless West’s 1,800-square-foot lab, there are no implements ordinarily associated with making wine or whiskey. Instead, one sees chemists quietly sitting at computers beside beakers, gas chromatography and mass spectrometer machines, and something called a liquid handling robot, which is loaded with test tubes that are filled with liquid from “real” wines and spirits.
They have robots that handle liquor, guys. They’ve got the whole damn thing already.
I’ve been waiting for this all my life, and now it’s almost here…
The white-smocked bio and analytical chemists are measuring and mapping the molecular profiles of standard alcoholic beverages. There is even a scanning area with an “electronic nose” to measure olfactory properties; something you likely won’t find in a standard winery lab.
The quest is to tease out which “naturally derived” carbohydrates, sugars, proteins, amino acids, and lipids comprise a wine or spirit, and which components encompass the organoleptic profiles of various alcoholic beverages. Key aromatics and flavor molecules are being identified such as citrus-like esters from ethyl isobutyrate and pineapple-y aromas derived from ethyl hexanoate or the buttery qualities found in the compound diacetyl.
Once recognized, neutral distillates or grain alcohol is then added to the recipe to synthetically formulate a wine or whiskey.
Yeah, blah blah science blah blah molecules. Whatever.
The bottom line is, whiskey is going to become cheaper than bottled water.
It’s also going to be served in bars with lots of neons and Chinese characters and crap. I’m not sure why, but I feel very strongly about this point.
This could be the crowning achievement of human civilization to date.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the earth was under some kind of “alien embargo,” where the other civilizations hold off on making first contact until we hit some milestone of technological progress. And try as I might, I can’t think of a better candidate for what that milestone could be, other than synthetic whiskey.
You see, the one constant of history is that the supply of whiskey is limited, while the demand is unlimited. This is the root cause of all suffering for sentient life.
Buddha said that, you know?
As such, any sentient life form who’d go out into the universe while suffering from this lack of whiskey would only be spreading misery.
What I’m trying to say here is, that synthetic whiskey might be the key to unlocking space travel, and thus a White space empire. I mean, logically speaking, it checks out.
Did I mention the kind of bars these drinks are going to be served in?
Did I mention the shootouts and cybernetically enhanced kung-fu fights that’d go on in there?
What a time to be alive.