A unique spin on bartending: the master mixologist and his centrifuge

The local bar is probably the last place you’d expect to see a Thermo Scientific™ Sorvall™ centrifuge. But Todd Maul, an award-winning Boston-based bartender, has been using the centrifuge for his liquid creations for years. His creative prowess has earned him many accolades, including Boston magazine’s “Best Bartender” and Improper Bostonian’s “Best Bartender Hall of Fame."

As Maul explains in the video that accompanies this story, “I wanted to look at how I could rethink it. How can I take the ingredients I had been using and make them new or different?” He's done that, and then some. 

A centrifuge uses centrifugal acceleration to separate the denser substances in a solution from the lighter elements, so Maul can break down his ingredients into components that he can use separately in drinks. Middle Eastern black lime, for example, is broken down to powder that he subsequently rehydrates with clarified lime juice, also from the centrifuge. The juice is then injected into the center of ice cubes so that flavor profile of the drink evolves as the cubes melt.

Maul doesn’t see his work with his Sorvall centrifuge as a gimmick. He’s truly transforming ingredients while stretching his bar budget. “Lime juice goes bad between 24 and 46 hours,” said Maul. “We were initially throwing that product away, but then we took a look at it and realized that we could create a much more sustainable model by spinning out the components and using the sediments in the juice.”

While Thermo Scientific centrifuges are common in laboratories worldwide, no one has put the same spin on it as Maul. From transforming coconut milk into coconut butter to rethinking ice cubes as vehicles for flavor, Maul is bringing an intriguing blend of art and science to his craft.

Maul recently launched his newest venture, a science-centric establishment called Cafe ArtScience in collaboration with Harvard Professor David Edwards, Chef Patrick Campbell and General Manager Tom Mastricola (Commonwealth), Check it out to see how Todd is using his Sorvall centrifuge to take his craft to new levels.

Combining science and art in mixology

Todd Maul, mixologist and cofounder of Cafe ArtScience talks about his approach to creating unique cocktail experiences using a centrifuge.