juniper berries

Read #DrunkSci tweets and you’ll notice quite a few Drunken Scientists count gin as their spirit of choice.  Gin is fabled to be the hooch behind “Dutch courage“.  In the UK, it was blamed for “debauchery and criminality” leading the British Parliament to pass the 1736 Gin Acts.   On this side of the pond, “bathtub gin” had a starring role in America’s Prohibition.

Like it’s history, gin is complicated.  The majority of gins are grain-based and all are botanical-flavored, sharing a common ingredient – juniper berries.  Beyond this add-in, botanical blends can be very diverse and a particular gin’s recipe is often closely guarded.  Gin espionage isn’t hard to image; the spirit is presently enjoying a renaissance and market resurgence.

Perhaps gin’s checkered past and complexity are what make it a favorite with Drunken Scientists.  It certainly makes gin the perfect medium for a Drunken Science interview.  A ginterview, if you will…

For this ginterview, we’re sharing a cocktail with @doc_becca, a neuroscientist Fumbling Toward Tenure.

Favorite gin My favorite gin is Hendrick’s, for sure. It’s so crisp and clean, and the bottle is pretty sweet, too. Whoever hired that design team should really be patting themselves on the back. But it’s so delicious (and pricey) I’d never use it in anything but a martini or maybe an Archangel, my favorite gin drink. For anything else, Beefeater is more than adequate.

Archangel Cocktail (photo by @doc_becca)

Favorite gin drink The Archangel is gin with cucumber and Aperol, a close cousin of Campari. I wrote a blog post with the recipe  a couple of months ago. It is–no pun intended–supremely divine. A close second, though, is the Bijoux, a classic made with gin, sweet vermouth, and Chartreuse.

Gin is described above.  What is neuroscience? Neuroscience is also a juniper berry-flavored grain spirit.

Your research distilled For fear of losing what shreds of pseudonymity I have left, I can’t be too specific. But I will tell you this:  I take a rat, I do stuff to it, I chop up its brain, I do some stuff to the pieces of brain, and then I look at the pieces of brain under a microscope.

Alcohol is a noted “social lubricant“. Any cocktail science tales? Some of my closest neuroscience friends and colleagues are those I’ve met during cocktail hour at small conferences. Funny how the booze really stimulates high-level intellectual discussion. I can’t wait until we’re all PIs so we can take over the world!

It's a Hendrick's Gin martini for @doc_becca

Gin or vodka martini? Gin, always gin! I don’t really see the point of vodka, to be honest. The only exception I’ll make is at the Russian Vodka Room in Midtown. It is serious business there–Russian business–and they have a horseradish-infused vodka martini that will put you on the floor.

from Golden Girls

Blanche: In the South, we mature faster.  I think it’s the heat.

Dorothy: I think it’s gin.

@doc_becca: I knew I always liked Dorothy for a reason.

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2 Responses to Ginterview

  1. Haven’t tried Hendricks, but I am a straight Bombay Sapphire kind of guy. I also only drink Gin and Tonics, no other mixed drink really. Unless you make it for me 😉

  2. Dr Becca says:

    If you only drink G&T’s, feel free to stick to Sapphire–I don’t think it’s a good martini gin, but works well with the citrus. And if we’re ever lucky enough to be in the same place at the same time, I will DEFINITELY make you a real cocktail. 🙂

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