Consider Tim Laird and Steve Hughes the Martin and Lewis of cocktails. "We play off each other, go back and forth," Laird says.
Laird is Canadian Mist Whisky's "chief entertainment officer," and Hughes is its "spirits scientist." For the past three year, they've been traveling the country presenting "Mistology: The Science Behind the Cocktail." They have a stop at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art on Thursday. Proceeds from the event go to the museum.
"Mistology" is a mix of science, history, and cocktail-making, Laird says. Laird mixes up the old standbys — the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned, and the Whisky Sour, for example — while Hughes describes the whisky-making process and discusses the science that comes into play — the density of the liquor and the properties of the garnishes, for example — when making a drink.
This is a promotional event for Canadian Mist, and both Laird and Hughes stand by the whisky's mixability. To prove the point, Laird makes traditionally clear liquor drinks, such as Margaritas and Cosmopolitans, and Hughes backs him up with data.
"Mistology" also has an interactive component. Guests are invited to mix their own drinks after the presentation. Laird and Hughes are also up for questions.
One of the most asked questions is about ice. The bigger the better, they say. Another one is about hangovers and the "whisky and beer" adage. To those ends, moderation is the key, both pronounce.
The answer to another popular cocktail question, one that Hughes has taken to his lab to study, is available only to "Mistology"-goers: shaken or stirred?