In 1995, astronomers examining the center of our Milky Way made a startling discovery — floating amongst the stars and planetary systems was a giant cloud of alcohol. Named Sagittarius B2, this cloud was formed over centuries, as isolated particles of gas and dust slowly combined under gravitational forces to form more complex molecules. At an astonishing 23 parsecs across (that’s approximately 1,000 times the size of our solar system!), the cloud contains enough ethyl alcohol to fill roughly 400 trillion trillion pints of beer.
Now don’t get your hopes up too much for a booze-fueled trip to space — most of it is undrinkable. But thanks to the observations of a giant radio telescope in Sierra Nevada, Spain, we do know what it might taste like.
Using a process called spectroscopy, astronomers in 2009 were able to identify the presence of an ester in the cloud called ethyl formate. Formed when an alcohol (in this case ethanol) reacts with a formic acid, this ester just so happens to be the same chemical that gives raspberries their distinct flavor.
Inspired by this, we’ve designed our very own color-changing cosmic cocktail that uses a similar chemical reaction between alcohol and acid to create its effect. Make yourself a taste of space, and impress your friends with your newfound cosmixology skills. (That’s right, that’s a term we just made up and will continue to use.)
The Sagittarius B2
Makes 1 bottle of the coolest-hued Tito’s you’ll ever see, and 1 cocktail
- ⅓ cup dried butterfly pea flowers
- 1 bottle Tito’s Handmade Vodka
- Lemonade with raspberries to top
- Fresh raspberries and lemon wheel to garnish
- Prepare for launch and commence infusion: Place dried butterfly pea flowers inside the bottle of Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
- T-3 and holding: Keep the flowers suspended for 3 to 4 hours. The vodka should turn a rich blue color.
- Begin countdown: Pour 1 ½ ounces of “blueshifted” Tito’s into a tall glass filled with ice.
- Ignition: Add lemonade and raspberries to taste. The acid of the lemonade will react with the blue coloring of the butterfly pea, turning your cocktail a cosmic magenta.
- Lift off: Garnish with fresh raspberries and a lemon wheel and enjoy!