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Starbucks is Bringing Ice Cream to More Than 100 Locations in the U.S.

Soon, customers at select Starbucks locations will be able to order scoops of ice cream to cool down their coffees. As Business Insider reports, the chain will be featuring new affogato offerings at more than 100 stores across the country, beginning this week.

The word affogato means “drowned” in Italian. To make one of these concoctions, baristas pour a shot of espresso into a cup of vanilla ice cream. The dessert is a popular treat in Italy, and soon Starbucks customers in Los Angeles, Orange County, Boston, and Washington, D.C. will get to try the delicacy for themselves.

The Roastery Affogato menu will be unveiled at 10 of Starbucks’s fancier Reserve bar locations. Their classic affogatos will sell for $6, and Cold Brew Malts, made with vanilla ice cream, cold brew, and chocolate bitters, will cost $8.50 each.

A less expensive version of the menu will also be made available at 100 classic Starbucks stores in Orange County, California. There, the Cold Brew Malt will feature Starbucks' Narino 70 cold brew instead of the pricier small-lot brew, and will cost $6.40.

Starbucks first experimented with ice cream-inspired offerings last summer. Their Affogato-style Frappuccino, with hot espresso poured over the iced drink, channeled the hot-cold temperature contrast of the original dessert. The newest offerings mark the first time actual ice cream has been sold at Starbucks across the country.

[h/t Business Insider]

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science
Why Adding Water to Your Whiskey Makes It Taste Better
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Don’t ever let people tease you for watering down your whiskey. If they’re true aficionados, they’ll know that adding a splash of water or a few cubes of ice to your drink will actually enhance its natural flavors. But how can something as flavorless as water make a barrel-aged scotch or bourbon taste even better? Chemists think they’ve found the answer.

As The Verge reports, researchers from the Linnæus University Centre for Biomaterials Chemistry in Sweden analyzed the molecular composition of whiskey in the presence of water. We already know that the molecule guaiacol is largely responsible for whiskey’s smoky taste and aroma. Guaiacol bonds to alcohol molecules, which means that in straight whiskey that guaiacol flavor will be fairly evenly distributed throughout the cask. Alcohol is repelled by water, and guaiacol partially so. That means when a splash of water is added to the beverage the alcohol gets pushed to the surface, dragging the guaiacol along with it. Concentrated at the top of the glass, the whiskey’s distinctive taste and scent is in the perfect position to be noticed by the drinker.

According to the team’s experiments, which they laid out in the journal Scientific Reports [PDF], whiskey that’s been diluted down to 40 percent to 45 percent alcohol content will start to show more guaiacol sloshing near the surface. Most commercial whiskey is already diluted before it's bottled, so the drink you order in a bar should fall within this range to begin with. Adding additional water or ice will boost the flavor-enhancing effect even further.

As for just how much water to add, the paper doesn’t specify. Whiskey lovers will just have to conduct some experiments of their own to see which ratios suit their palate.

[h/t NPR]

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Food
It’s Still Summer, But Pumpkin Spice Lattes Are Already Here
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It’s August, so go ahead and gird yourself for pumpkin season. Yes, that tell-tale sign of impending autumn, the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, is about to come back, according to Fortune. The company hasn't released a specific launch date, but it just announced that a new bottled version of the latte will be coming to grocery stores this month, along with pumpkin spice ground coffee.

Last year, the PSL arrived in Starbucks stores on September 1; the year before, it was September 8. There's no denying that the coffee chain is forcing its fall favorites on us earlier and earlier. Early enough to make us consider getting that Pumpkin Spice over ice, in fact.

The much-derided orange beverage is just the most famous example of a marketing trend that spreads far beyond coffee. As early as late July, pumpkin-flavored snacks, cookies, cereals, and other foods you wouldn’t think should taste like pumpkin start hitting stores, giving the people what they really want: to pretend they’re cozying up in a scarf on a rainy fall day instead of sitting in front of their air conditioners in their underwear.

Why does Starbucks keep pushing the starting line of the fall season closer and closer to mid-summer? Dollar bills, obviously. In the first decade after the drink’s launch in 2003, the company sold around 200 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes. In 2015, Forbes estimated that it would make $100 million from the PSL that fall alone. Despite the online hate, a huge chunk of people loooove their PSLs.

These days, it’s not fall until someone starts hating on the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Besides, climate change will eventually render seasons moot, right?

[h/t Fortune]

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