I admit I was ignorant of how to go about fossilising a (deceased) pet hamster until I purchased the paperback of the same name. How To Fossilise Your Hamster: And Other Amazing Experiments For The Armchair Scientist (published 2007 so you can pick it up from as little as £1.49 on Amazon) is a must for anyone who longed to receive a Chemistry Set for Christmas but never did. So if you’ve got half a bottle of rum, a can of coca cola with the fizz intact and some ice cubes you too can experiment with the contents of the drinks cabinet.
Mix yourself a Rum and Coke cocktail using a dash of dark rum and a classic cola then watch a harmless frothy scum form around the added ice cubes. Taste to ensure the experiment is commencing as planned, then mix another Rum and Coke but using pale rum (Barcardi is suitable but a supermarket own-label will be just as good at two-thirds the price). No dirty looking froth forms this time, but why is that?
Distilling molasses, the gooey burnt sugar syrup left over when sugar cane is turned into sugar, produces a colourless and highly alcoholic spirit. Adding back a bit of the dark brown molasses turns this ‘white’ rum into a sweeter, darker version of the original.
The added molasses contains dissolved calcium and magnesium (the same stuff that furs up the kettle in hard water areas). Adding cola causes a chemical reaction to occur which turns these into solids. These float on the surface of the drink and form the scum which is really difficult to wash off unless you leave the glasses to soak.
White rum doesn’t have the added molasses so there is nothing for the cola to react with. Hence no scum and a visually more attractive drink.
Once you’re happy the experiments have reached a satisfactory Conclusion (you don’t have to record details of the Apparatus, Method and Results in an orange-bound lined notebook unless you wish to but hand in to me for marking if you do) why not transform all these plain old Rum and Cokes into Cuba Librés by adding the juice and hull of half a lime to each of the glasses.
Class is now dismissed.
(Look on page 151 for instructions on fossilising your hamster.)
PG Wine Reviews
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference South Afican Fairtrade Chenin Blanc 2015
£6 Sainsbury’s (down from £7 until October 11)
Tastes like lemon Bakewell tart.
Most Wannted Spanish Albarino 2015
£6.99 Co-op (down from £7.99 until October 4)
Lemon and melon flavours with a slight fizz.
Chateau Lalande French Cabardes 2013
Soft and fruity red – a good alternative to Chianti.
Morrisons’ Western Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Simple and rich red with flavours of plum, violets and milk chocolate.
Aldi Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry
Lightly bubbly so a good wine to match with food – pear, peach and banana flavours.
© Paula Goddard 2016