ArtScience Culture Lab & Café

By Eric Twardzik   Cambridge · Cocktail Bar · $$$

Cocktails are contagious at ArtScience. Its bar, sleek and as white as the corridor of a futuristic spaceship, offers a front-row view of everyone else’s drink. A fantastical concoction, served in a bowl or garnished with foam-filled eggshells, emerges. Oohs and aahs commence, smartphones are pulled out, and soon you find yourself ordering it, too.

But the drinks here do more than rack up digital likes. Each one is inspired by and named for an endangered species, reflecting bar director Tenzin Samdo’s commitment to raising environmental awareness.

Take, for example, the Pika, a Scotch-based riff on a Penicillin. Garnished with a cluster of mountain herbs—turmeric, chilies, and dehydrated lavender, the drink is dedicated to a tiny mammal that thrives at high altitudes.

The playful Titi Monkey is a pisco sour variant enlivened by high-grade matcha and sandalwood syrup. Its surface features a monkey printed on edible wafer paper, plus a half eggshell filled with emulsion foam.

Meanwhile, the Elephant is a clarified piña colada. Translation: It tastes like the best piña colada you’ve ever had, but looks and drinks like an ice-cold martini. Your taste buds recognize what you’re getting, even if your mind can’t fully comprehend it. Sometimes that’s just the case at ArtScience Culture Lab & Café—we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Bumblebee cocktail from ArtScience Culture Lab & Cafe

See that strange conical device sitting on the bar? That’s “Le Whaf,” an invention of bar founder and Harvard professor David Edwards that turns liquids into aromatic vapors. Ask for a slotted glass straw to whiff the likes of Negroni, taco, or toasted marshmallow.

Dreaming up a Le Whaf aroma of your own? You can purchase the device (and other quirky inventions from David Edwards) at a small retail space by the host stand.

Explore ArtScience’s “culture” by checking out its exhibition space, which hosts rotating multimedia installations that (appropriately) blend art and science.

Must Haves

  • A palate-pleaser that brings new flavors to the table, Samdo’s take on a Bee’s Knees is built on a refreshing base of gin and lemon and spiced with a saffron-cardamom-honey syrup.

  • As Instagrammable as it is delicious, this sipper is sensation and substance in a coupe glass.

  • Like your spirits boozy and smoky? Order an Amur Tiger, which lives up to its fierce namesake with rye whiskey and cigar-smoked cherry, delivering deep tobacco flavor and a rich, leathery texture.

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