A Cocktail Class in Molecular Mixology

How bartenders are using science to create new cocktails that can be sipped or spooned

Bamboo / Moët & Chandon

In Moët's cocktail, foam adds texture and fruity flavor to Champagne without altering the effervescence.

Chemistry isn't a word that most people associate with cocktails. But more bartenders are applying the science of molecular gastronomy to the search for a better drink, mixing alcohol with such stuff as liquid nitrogen, alginates and chlorides. The result: whiskey marshmallows, a mojito mist to be sprayed instead of sipped, a Hurricane that erupts like a school science project.

"It's about changing the texture, density or viscosity, the molecular structure of a liquid," says award-winning mixologist Charlotte Voisey. The chemical-cocktail movement grew out of a 2005 symposium sponsored by Dutch distiller Bols. In attendance were Hervé This, the father of...