What if you could knock back a few cocktails without any day-after regrets? A new substance that feels just like booze, at least when you're drinking it, promises to deliver the same fun-filled high as regular alcohol without any pesky hangover ruining your morning, damaging your liver or hurting your productivity.
“Alcosynth” is a synthetic alcoholic compound designed by David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacology professor at Imperial College London, who claims his invention could replace regular alcohol by 2050. “It’s clever neuroscience coupled with sophisticated pharmaceutical chemistry,” Nutt tells The Feastabout his closely guarded formula. “We target the brain regions and neurotransmitters that give the good effects of alcohol, but not those giving the bad ones.”
The concoctions, which Nutt admits would “taste bitter” if consumed by themselves, are intended to replace the hard liquor in mixed drinks like mojitos or Tom Collins. “They’ll be used as an alternative to spirits in cocktails,” Nutt explains, “[with the] taste fully masked.”
Ultimately, Nutt is aiming to create an entirely new category of beverages called “SARAAs,” or “Safe and Responsible Alcohol Alternatives.” While his vision may sound like e-cigarettes for cocktail lovers, Nutt believes a better comparison are sugar substitutes that “give the taste and pleasure of sugar without the harmful calories.” Testing is currently underway on two of the roughly 90 alcosynth compounds devised so far, with those two chosen for further development because of “existing safety data,” says Nutt, as well as their “kinetics [being] very like those of alcohol.”
He’s aiming to parlay his creation into some Alcosynth beers as well, but has no plans to develop an alternative for wine. “Alcohol-free wines are too unpleasant to drink, even with [SARAAs] in them,” he says. Sorry, hangover-hating wine-lovers. But can we interest you in a few rounds of mojitos instead?
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