Weekend party ideas

martiniIf you haven’t made any plans for the weekend yet, here are a few ideas you might want to try out (if you’re of legal drinking age, whatever that is where you live). They’re all from our reading selection, How to Fossilize Your Hamster, by Mick O’Hare. Get set to do these experiments at home, because they all involve booze and you’re likely to imbibe while experimenting. If you get through this whole list, you’ll be in no shape to drive yourself home afterwards.

  • Find out if shaken and stirred martinis actually taste the different (page 92).
  • Find out why a shandy only overflows if you pour the beer in before the 7-up  (page 97).
  • Turn wine into water–by filtering it through your digestive system (page 133).
  • What causes “drinker’s legs” (page 84)?
  • See if beer or sparkling wine froth when poured into a wet glass (page 88).
  • Turn anisette-based drinks white by adding water (page 91). Ed note: in case you don’t know it, anisette is great in coffee.
  • Discover if rum-and-cokes made with dark or light rum get frothy scum around the top of the glass (page 95).

OK, that’s enough. (Enough to make you sick, if you mix all those drinks in one session.)

This is just a small selection of the experiments presented in How to Fossilize Your Hamster. I chose the boozy projects for your weekend entertainment, but there are also a lot of experiments that can be fun for the whole family. I’ll feature some of those in another post.

Although this seems frivolous, How to Fossilize Your Hamster is full of scientific facts and experimental results that make the idea of learning science fun. I think this is a great way to get more people introduced to science and to help spread science literacy among a populace who might  otherwise think that science is hard, boring, or irrelevant.


Donna Druchunas is a freelance technical writer and editor and a knitwear designer. When she's not working, she blogs, studies Lithuanian, reads science and sci-fi books, mouths off on atheist forums, and checks her email every three minutes. (She does that when she's working, too.) Although she loves to chat, she can't keep an IM program open or she'd never get anything else done.

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  1. Frivolous? Drinking is serious business! First of all, alcohol is a natural muscle relaxant (homeopathic cyclobenzaprine?). Second, beer is made with barley malt, hops, yeast and water. That makes it liquid bread! Cheers fellow Skeptics!

  2. There is a trick you can do to prevent carbonated drinks from foaming when poured into ice. The reason carbonated drinks do that is the nucleation sites on the ice. If you rinse the ice with water, that melts the surface and destroys the nucleation sites. Then you can pour the carbonated beverage in and not have the CO2 fizz out.

  3. Well, now I’m kinda curious about the rum & Coke one. I drink mine with diet Coke, which might make a difference. I also have always done a variation on what daedalus2u suggests, where I pour the rum over ice first and shake it until the rum is nice and cold and the ice cubes are coated to keep the soda from fizzing all over the place.

    I’ve never noticed that light or dark rum was likely to leave a scum ring around the top of the glass, but perhaps a more controlled experiment is in order …

  4. You know,

    I once had an idea (and it didn’t die from loneliness, thank you…) for the Richard C. (Hyper-dimensional) Hoagland drinking game.

    Basically, You go out to the “Enterprise Mission” website and read a random “paper” (and oh god am I stretching the definition of “paper” to the largest possible limits).

    Every time you see the word “Hyper-dimensional” you take a shot.

    Please us beer or wine or you’ll kill yourself.

    Not as much fun as fossilizing a hamster, but it’s a lot easier.


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