Is “Science of Cocktails” more about brands than science?

Last year I went to The Exploratorium‘s “Science of Cocktails” fundraising event for the first time. It’s been running since at least 2014, and from what I’ve heard it has had some great demos and cocktails in the past. However I found my 2019 experience to be fairly disappointing. I’ve been to a number of other cocktail events around the Bay Area and the best of them were generally focused on specific bars and bartenders, featuring particular ingredients or products. But the product reps were not generally the ones developing or mixing the cocktails. However, in the case of Science of Cocktails 2019, I found it almost entirely dominated by brands, and the cocktails were on average mediocre at best (with some a bit unpalatable to me, to be frank). Worse still, there was only minimal science, which feels like a bigger issue given the billing of the event.

After the event I got an email thanking me for my attendance, with the contact info of Akemi Yamaguchi, Philanthropic Engagement Manager at The Exploratorium for any “questions about Science of the Cocktails”. I had some thoughts to share so I sent her a fairly lengthy email. Unfortunately I never heard back. I started to get notifications about the 2020 Science of Cocktails event just recently and after my previous experience I was a bit hesitant to go again, so I emailed asking if anything had changed from last year. Again, no response.

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