A History Lesson With Booze ®

Death On The Rocks

On January 12th, 1967, Dr. James Bedford became the first person to be cryonically preserved, his body sealed in a capsule full of supercold liquid nitrogen.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The History Lesson

This week back in 1967, Dr. James Bedford died of cancer and he is super cool. Literally. See, he was the first person ever to be cryonically preserved. That’s when a body is shot full of chemicals and cooled to subzero temperatures. The idea is to revive it waaaay in the future – when we hopefully have the technology to cure anything. Including damage from being cryonically preserved.

Now these days, a shot at immortality doesn’t come cheap. A company called “Alcor” charges $150 grand to cool and store your whole body. Or $80 grand for just your brain. But back in the ‘60s, cryo-pioneers were so desperate for a volunteer, they offered to do the first procedure… free. Dr. Bedford apparently thought that was a steal. He died on January 12th, 1967. And within hours, his body was sealed in a vat of super-cold liquid nitrogen. Cryonicists still celebrate the anniversary – they call it “Bedford Day.”

Even so, the good doctor’s not the most notorious patient on ice. Since 2002, baseball legend Ted Williams has been stored in one capsule at Alcor. Sports Illustrated reports his head is stored in another.
As for Dr. Bedford, his body’s chillin’ at Alcor, too. Of course, cryonicists say the procedure he got in ’67 was so primitive? He’s probably irreversibly deceased. But as one of his handlers said, quote: “It’s like the lottery. You don’t know if you’ll win.”

The Booze

Death On The Rocks

Photo credit: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com

Recipe created for the DPD by Jonny Raglin, bar manager at Absinthe Brasserie in San Francisco, CA:


  • Squeeze the juice of fresh blood oranges into an ice cube tray, and freeze
  • Fill a Collins glass with the blood-orange ice cubes
  • Fill glass 3/4 full with champagne
  • Top with 1/4 to 1/2 oz. of Absinthe

Sip gently to avoid brain freeze.