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3D Printed Artful Cocktails

Thrillist reports on a new project launch embarked upon by Bulleit Bourbon.  The Bulleit 3D Printed Frontier is part of Bulleit’s Frontier Works program, which “highlights ‘the modern frontier’ – people who are pushing the boundaries in their current craft…for 2019 it’s all about the marriage of tech, culture, and, of course, cocktails.  With a 3D printed bar and a menu of printed cocktails.”

“Benjamin Greimel is the robotics pioneer behind Print-A-Drink, one of the first technologies to combine robotics with design and mixology, and one of the key features of The Bulleit 3D Printed Frontier. Greimel’s idea to combine 3D printing, robotics, and mixology actually began as a one-off grad school assignment using a robotic arm with a micro-dosing attachment, but Greimel quickly realized there was a need for this type of tech in the entertainment scene. Mostly because, as far as he could tell, no one else was utilizing 3D printing technology this way.”

Unlike most 3D printers, which print vertically, Greimel’s robotic arm prints cocktails “in a similar way to how medicine would be created in a lab, via micro-injections (and no thermoplastics, obviously).  The artful designs are created by precisely injecting microscopic dots of liquid into the drink in a pre-set pattern.”

These designs are able to stay in place due to the chemistry of the drinks and “because the tiny dots are actually small droplets of edible oils, like lemon, hazelnut, or even vegetable.  Because the droplets are so small, they don’t typically affect the mouthfeel or taste of the drink, unless a mixologist is using a more pronounced oil to accentuate the cocktail.  Think of them as edible garnish – but way cooler.”

“But not everything can be a robo-cocktail, and it took the team over 100 recipes to discover this for themselves. The drinks need to be semi-transparent for the design to shine through, so no stout beer. Sparkling drinks are out, since they go flat when cooled to the printable temperature. Lastly, the printed oil drops don’t maintain their position in spirits with a high alcohol content (they still aren’t sure why).”

The printing process actually only takes about 60 seconds per drink, which is optimal for a bar setting.  The bar itself was also 3D printed.  In fact, “now Bulleit is bringing the 3D Printed Frontier (bar and cocktails included) to cities across the US in 2019. The bar kicked off in Oakland and will stop through Austin, NYC, and more until it lands in Shelbyville, Kentucky, the home of the Bulleit distillery.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Bulleit Bourbon and Thrillist

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