Ballantine’s, a maker of blended Scotch, has solved the engineering problem plaguing the world’s greatest thinkers: the everyman’s challenge of drinking fine liquor in space. Because even Don Draper would look like a jackass trying to pour whiskey without gravity.
Unveiled Friday, the Ballantine’s-financed glass was designed by the Open Space Agency, an organization of space technology enthusiasts in London. Ballantine’s feels they have invested money in something that will soon be a coveted commodity for the wealthy and intrepid travelers among us.
“When they go on a bit of an adventure, [whiskey is] the thing people want to take with them,” Peter Moore, the brand director for Ballantine’s, tells The New York Times. “This is about getting ourselves ready. Space tourism is going to develop. Personally, I think it’s going to develop quite quickly.”
Of course, without gravity, it is impossible to pour liquid. This presents special danger to humans in space, as rogue droplets could make their way to life-supporting electronics. The glass for whiskey in space then requires a complex manipulation of fluid dynamics.
Behold: this elegant, bulbous glass comprised of a few different elements. There’s a gold-plated stainless steel bottom that holds a reservoir of liquid. Above that is a a helical channel through which the whiskey is drawn upward, and a 3-D printed plastic viewing dome. The mouthpiece is made of gold.
A space traveler would just need to fill the glass through its one-way valve on the bottom, and a magnet would keep it on the metal surface until the drink was ready to be sipped.
To test its mettle, the Open Space Agency took the space glass to Germany, where a 480-foot tall drop tower exists in the city of Bremen. The glass was filled with whiskey, put into a capsule at the top of a vacuum-sealed shaft, and dropped down the airless tower. This created a nearly zero-gravity experience until it landed safely at tower’s bottom less than five seconds later.
Of course, much attention was paid to the exact drink poured into the engineering feat. Ballantine’s created a whiskey just for the occasion. It’s supposedly a sweeter, spicier concoction meant to combat the fact that your senses are generally somewhat muted in the weightlessness of orbit. Only eleven bottles of the space blend are currently in existence.
Now that the space glass is finished–and has the capability to be 3D-printed–the sky’s the limit for whiskey-drinking space fanatics. "The space glass is a symbol of this new frontier,” says James Parr, OSA’s founder.
You can watch a video of how the glass was made below: