The Scientific Method is a process for experimentation used to explore observations and answer questions. It follows laws of logic first defined by Aristotle. It was used by Watson and Crick to determine the double-helix structure of DNA. And it was what Barbara and I used to uncover some insights into the cosmos.

Step One: Ask a Question

Since Mary will not get off the Triple Sec train, how can we use Triple Sec to make a cosmo Barbara will like?

Step Two: Background Research

Sweetness is Barbara’s issue; we looked into elements of the drink that impart sweetness and thought about how to counterbalance that. We researched what kinds of bottled lime juice would provide the convenience of Rose’s without the added sugar and investigated unsweetened cranberry juice. We found unsweeted key lime juice and, as Barbara had previously discovered, a tart Trader Joe’s cranberry juice.

Step Three: Construct Hypothesis

If we use no-sugar-added Trader Joe’s cranberry juice and either fresh lime juice or unsweetened bottled key lime juice to mitigate the sweetness factor, then we’ll have a just-tart-enough version of the classic Rose’s-Cointreau version.

Step Four: Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment

We filled one cocktail shaker using a recipe involving two shots of gin, one shot of Triple Sec, a shot of fresh lime and a short shot of unsweetened cranberry juice. At the same time under the same exact conditions we filled another shaker using the same recipe, but replacing fresh lime juice with bottled key lime juice.

Step Five: Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion

The hypothesis was false. The distinctive taste of ReaLemon that makes it an unpleasant substitute for fresh lemon juice is also found in bottled lime juice and was present and overwhelming in the drink. Fresh lime juice was better, but both drinks were mouth-puckering tart almost to the point of being undrinkable. Of course we drank them, in the interest of science.

Step Six: Communicate Your Results

That’s what this blog is for.

Clearly more work needs to be done. We are laundering our lab coats and getting ready for the next round.