January 4, 2023

Master Mixology: Cheers to 75 Years

Explore the intersection of science, history and alcohol, plus fun adult beverage demonstrations (and non-alcoholic modifications!).

Welcome back to Master Mixology with Discovery Place Science! This video series explores the intersection of science, history and alcohol, plus fun adult beverage demonstrations (and non-alcoholic modifications!).

In this episode of Master Mixology, we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of Discovery Place with a Blue Diamond Rush, a special drink recipe inspired by history, science and things that get better with age—like Discovery Place! In the content below the video, find more details and recipes included in this episode.

Traditionally, a 75th anniversary is celebrated by gifting diamonds. Flawless diamonds are rare and more valuable than diamonds with impurities. The presence or absence of flaws can be determined by inspecting the diamond with a strong lens and searching for metallic floaters.

We are adding a diamond element into this episode’s drink by running lemon juice through a centrifuge to filter out impurities and by creating diamond ice.

While you likely do not have a centrifuge at home, you can still enjoy that diamond element with homemade diamond ice, and instructions on how to make it at home can be found below.

Another item we are adding to our drink is honey syrup. We are using honey harvested from our Discovery Place Nature beekeepers Gerry and Libby at Charlotte VERY Local Honey. We mixed their honey with water at a 1:1 ratio on a stovetop to create honey syrup for our drink.

Leather, wine, cheese, blue jeans and whiskey are all examples of things that get better with age. The alcohol we are using in our Blue Diamond Rush is whiskey.

Did you know? That smooth, aged whiskey flavor comes from years of being stored in wooden barrels. The wood breaks down the rough alcohol flavor and after about three years of storage, the alcohol begins to absorb the wood’s sugars.

The longer the whiskey is stored, the more complex and nuanced flavors it will have. However, once the whiskey is bottled, it stops maturing.

Our drink recipe is a spin-off of a classic “Gold Rush,” which uses whiskey, honey syrup and lemon juice. We are adding a twist by including bitters for flavor and Discovery Place blue in the form of blue curacao.

What is the significance of a “Gold Rush,” you ask? Well, long before Discovery Place was conceptualized, way back in the early 1800’s the Charlotte region was the location of the very first gold rush in the United States!

Pour yourself our anniversary drink and sip for science! Remember to drink responsibly.

Blue Diamond Rush
Rocks Glass

  • 1.5 oz whiskey
  • 1 oz honey syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 5 dashes of bitters
  • 0.5 oz blue curacao
  • Lemon twist
  • Diamond ice (recipe below)

Directions: Pour whiskey, honey syrup, lemon juice, bitters and blue curacao into a shaker and shake vigorously. Strain over diamond ice in a rocks glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

Helpful tip: To get the most out of your garnish, make sure to give it a good squeeze over the drink to release the oils and aromas.

Have you ever wondered why some drinks are shaken while others are stirred? Shaking helps remove some of the volatile organic compounds from the alcohol while oxidizing others and affecting the taste.

If you have citrus in your drink like we do, you want to make sure to shake it. James Bond himself preferred a shaken martini, but according to the British Medical Journal, this was likely due to alcohol-induced tremors that left him unable to stir a drink properly (this is a real study!)

If your New Year’s resolution includes Dry January or you simply don’t drink alcohol, you can still enjoy this drink by trying out our non-alcoholic version.

Blue Diamond Rush Mocktail
Rocks Glass

  • 1 oz honey syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz non-alcoholic blue curacao (like this)
  • 5 drops of non-alcoholic bitters (like this)
  • Ginger beer
  • Lemon twist
  • Diamond ice

Directions: Pour honey syrup, lemon juice, blue curacao and bitters into a shaker. Shaker vigorously and strain over diamond ice in a rocks glass. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a lemon twist.

Honey Syrup

  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1 cup of water

Directions: Stir honey and water together in a small saucepan over medium heat until honey is dissolved. Once dissolved, remove from heat and allow syrup to cool. Store syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Syrup will keep for up to one month when stored properly.

Diamond Ice: The Cooler Method

  • Warm tap water (not boiling!)
  • A small cooler (we used a lunchbox)
  • A freezer
  • A serrated knife
  • A towel or oven mitt


  1. Pour warm tap water into a clean cooler until you have about 2 inches of water at the bottom. We used a lunchbox, but if you have a 6-pack cooler that will fit in your freezer, that will work too.
  2. Leave the lid off and place in a spot in your freezer where it can remain undisturbed for up to 24 hours. Your ice will be ready to cut anywhere between 18 and 24 hours later.
  3. Once your ice is frozen, let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to remove it from the cooler easily.
  4. Using a serrated knife in one hand and a towel or oven mitt in the other, you can cut your ice into whatever shape you like. Helpful tip: If you’re struggling to cut the ice, warm up the knife with boiling water and it will slide through the ice like butter.
  5. If the bottom of your ice did not freeze clear, you can cut those pieces off.
  6. Water can also be used to melt away any unwanted imperfections.
  7. Keep ice blocks in the freezer until you are ready to use them (you can put them back in the cooler and put the lid on it or place in a plastic baggie and put them back in the freezer).
  8. Dress up a casual dinner or impress your friends by serving diamond ice in beverages at your next party!

Want more Master Mixology? Check out our previous episode, Drinks That Glow.