Pinhead Institute: Serving up 12th Annual Science of Cocktails – Neat!

Pinhead Institute: Serving up 12th Annual Science of Cocktails – Neat!

The Pinhead Institute is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Its programs depend on generous donations from philanthropists who believe in its STEM-based mission. Pinhead’s annual “Science of Cocktails” is a  fun event that brings the greater Telluride community and guests together to enjoy yummy drinks, while also raising money to support one of Telluride’s signature nonprofits. This year the event is once again being held in Telluride Art’s Transfer Warehouse.

And check Pinhead’s website to learn more about the diverse and unique programming the nonprofit offers and the many ways in which Pinhead enriches the Telluride region.

Go here for more about Pinhead’s history.

The “Best Science” award-winning team from Wood Ear preps their Clarified Kimchi Bloody Mary during last year’s Science of Cocktails at the Telluride Transfer Warehouse.

It’s that time of year – when intriguing experiments with density, sublimation, acoustic integration, and even comestible colloids meet the finest in Telluride’s craft mixology scene during the Pinhead Institute’s annual Science of Cocktails fundraiser. The event takes place Saturday, July 16, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Telluride Transfer Warehouse.

Celebrating its 12th anniversary, this ages 21+ party features seven, science-spiked libations created by local, master mixologists, drink demonstrations, appetizers, and a silent auction.

“We love Science of Cocktails – seeing the creativity of our community’s best mixologists, and the generosity of our food donors and patrons come together. It’s a blast – and supports our important mission of STEM education for every student in our service area. Plus, we have our wonderful Pinhead Interns, past and present, come, throw on lab coats, and chat up the guests about their wonderful summer Pinternships. It’s a terrific two hours of fun and learning,” says Sarah Holbrooke, Pinhead ED.

Representing ANB Bank (which is also a generous sponsor of the event) is mixologist Rachel Cook. Cook returns to defend the Butterfly Pea Flower Mule that saw her take the People’s Choice Award last year. Competing against Cook this year are six (or seven if Pinhead has a last minute entry from The National) fellow mixologists including Katherine Semler of Butcher and Baker; Zita Suprenant from Norwood’s Mesa Rose Kitchen+Grocery; Chance Van Cleef for Mountain Lodge; Ashley Story from Telluride Sleighs and Wagons; local Wine Geek Food Freak, Patrick Laguens; and, wrapping up the field, Matthew Arnold from Wood Ear Whisky Lounge.

Wood Ear returns to the competition as the reigning “Best Science” winner for the restaurant’s clarified Kimchi Bloody Mary featured in last year’s competition.

“The science of these drinks is really spectacular – and it’s always wonderful to have a panel of science judges from far and wide to rate the science stories – it’s quite competitive,” Holbrooke adds.

The evening will also include a silent auction featuring two-night stays for two people at Dunton Hot Springs; Civana Wellness Resort & Spa in Carefree, Ariz.; and CampV in Naturita; as well as a rug from Azadi. Those who are unable to attend in person may bid in absentia by emailing

All funds raised at the Science of Cocktails will go towards Pinhead Institute programming, which includes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics supplemental education programs provided by the Telluride-based Smithsonian Affiliate organization throughout much of Southwest Colorado.

“Everyone in the community knows how important science is to our future. We’re thrilled that with so much local generosity, all our proceeds go to supporting scholarships for our amazing programming. Pinhead doesn’t let cost get in the way of teaching all kids in the communities we serve both the fun of science and its fundamental principles,” explained Holbrooke.

From serving a few hundred students annually to reaching 4,500 students during almost 19,000 program hours in 2021, Pinhead engages rural students in San Miguel, Ouray, Montrose, Dolores, and Montezuma counties with a variety of STEM learning opportunities. These include interactive labs, workshops and field expeditions with PhD scientists and other specialists through its Scholars in the Schools program, free and paid after-school classes including robotics, computer coding, and makers’ workshops, and other programming.

This summer, the organization has placed 31 rising high school seniors in its Pinhead Internship program to study computer science, neuroscience, engineering, and more at schools including Dartmouth, the University of California, and CU Boulder. Another student deeply immersed herself in astrophysics during her placement at World Asteroid Day in Luxembourg, while one lucky film and animation afficionado helped install an immersive virtual reality exhibition at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Attendees are strongly encouraged to purchase Science of Cocktails tickets in advance at, although a limited number will be available at the door. Prices are $50 general admission; $100 Top Shelf entry. Top Shelf pricing includes entry into a raffle to win 2 hours at the Pinhead STEM Lab creating a custom laser-cut project of your choice with a Pinhead staff member. All tickets come with 7 science-themed cocktails, appetizers, and a vote for the People’s Choice Award.

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