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Issue 96 - The Appliance of Science

Whisky Magazine Issue 96
June 2011


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The Appliance of Science

Neil Ridley meets the men behind two revolutionary establishments and gets a science lesson in the process

Snail porridge, liquid nitrogen-poached aperitifs and piped aromas from the Black Forest. All culinary twists we have come to expect from the likes of Heston Blumenthal, whose now legendary scientific approach to food is expanding our palates, minds and opinions on fine dining. But this new found passion for blending science and cuisine has managed to escape the confines of the kitchen and several of London's leading bartenders are donning lab coats and firing up Bunsen burners in search of liquid alchemy. One such bar Purl, and its recently opened sister establishment, The Whistling Shop in London's uber-fashionable Shoreditch have gone to incredible lengths in the design of their respective cocktail menus; including some truly bizarre, yet inspired ideas, which sound as if they could have been lifted straight from the pages of The New Scientist.
Walking down the stairs into Purl's cavernous basement interior feels like descending into a Chicago speakeasy, but quickly your eyes adjust to the low level lighting and what surrounds you is the a remarkable recreation of a Dickensian gin place, in all its faded vintage splendour. Thomas Aske (along with his partners Tristian Stephenson and Byran Pieterson) has taken the current trend for vintage classic cocktails and long lost flavours but completely revolutionised their premise, injecting in some new, highly scientific twists, to give their customers an unexpectedly theatrical experience when ordering a drink. “It's about enha...

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