Science on Tap: Botany at the Bar

Sep 25 @ 7:30pm



Botany at the Bar
by Rachel Meyer, Adjunct Assistant Professor at UCSC

Roughly 40,000 plants are consumable but you'll only find a few hundred in your grocery store and only a dozen will be major caloric sources in your diet. Fortunately, there are cocktails and bitters that let you enjoy hundreds to thousands more species. As a plant evolutionary biologist interested in keeping up on botanical diversity and advocacy for the importance of botany, I came to realize that there was a link between the hospitality world and biodiversity conservation, and that bartenders were better at teaching appreciation for plants than many of my fellow scientists. With two other botanists, I launched Shoots and Roots Bitters to make products and give flavor-sensory lectures that broaden the species we consume and care about. From the World Science Festival to the Museum of Food and Drink to what's now a book, Botany at the Bar, we've brought underutilized plants to thousands of people around the country. This talk is about how the bar industry has changed our science outlook and how a bitters business influenced our experiences navigating careers as women in science, with gobs of plant diversity to sample and celebrate.