It's a Bloody Mary, which may be the most chemically complex cocktail in the world, broken down into its component flavors and ingredients.

The diagram by NPR's Adam Cole is based on the research of Neil Da Costa, a chemist who specializes in the chemical analysis. The magic thing about the Bloody Mary is that the hundreds of flavor compounds from its ingredients "cover almost the entire range of human taste sensations," except for bitterness, according to Da Costa. It delivers sweet, salty, sour and umami. (What's umami? NPR's got a killer story on that too.)


Da Costa's research isn't purely academic—he's got some tips to make the bestest Bloody Mary, based on science. The biggest one? Use cheap vodka and spend the money on excellent tomato juice. (But really, you should always use cheap vodka.) [ACS, NPR, Image: Adam Cole/NPR]

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