Sipping whiskey in space isn’t weird now. This year, Ballantine’s embarked on designing a glass to ensure that in the future, we’ll take whisky with us. The result is Space Glass, which was tested as prototype in micro gravity at the ZARM Drop Tower, Bremen, Germany. Ballantine’s has commissioned Open Space Agency’s James Parr to design Space Glass. This innovative glass applies some clever physics to recreate the experience of drinking spirits from a glass on Earth and certainly is a more attractive choice for astronauts and future space tourists than using plastic bags and straws.
Space Glass is made from 3D-printed rose gold and 3D-printed plastic. The curved shape of the space glass is designed to fit in the palm of your hand with a weighted, rose gold base giving it a heavy feel here on Earth. Gold is often used in space technology as it deflects the radiation of the sun, but in this instance it’s highly unreactive properties serves to prevent the glass from affecting the whisky’s taste. The rose gold colour is also reminiscent of the copper used in the whisky distillation process, a nod to brand’s rich history.
“Our brief was to develop a whisky glass that worked under the conditions of microgravity, the scientific term for zero gravity,” says Parr. “It was important that we focused on creating a ritual around how you drink from the Ballantine’s Space Glass to ensure a familiarity of what we are used to here on Earth — the end result is one with several elements to that ritual, from the liquid entering the glass through to sipping from it.”
The glass has a spiral convex base plate and this gold plate creates surface tension to hold the whisky down in a reservoir at the bottom of the glass. Connected to this reservoir is a helix and a small channel runs up the side of the glass to carry the liquid up to the rose gold mouthpiece, where the liquid waits for the space traveller to drink it.
Included in the base of the glass is a 10kg pull magnet for easy docking with a bespoke whisky insert nozzle, for putting the Glass “down” on a metallic microgravity bar or even on a wall.
The custom loading nozzle inserts into the one way valve situated on the base of the glass and subsequently solves the problem of pouring in microgravity conditions. This allows whisky to seamlessly flow into the glass from a standard bottle of Ballantine’s Finest – meaning you won’t spill a drop of your favourite dram.
To accompany Space Glass, Ballantine’s Master Blender, Sandy Hyslop, has subsquently crafted a special batch of scotch whisky to enjoy in space.