A History Lesson With Booze ®

The LSD-25

In 1938, Dr. Albert Hoffman synthesized a bunch of compounds based on the fungus "ergot." The 25th compound - LSD-25 - didn't seem to have much effect on lab animals, so he chucked it. But 5 years later, Hofmann decided to make another batch and on April 19th, 1943, he ingested .25 ml of the stuff

By Ksd5 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

The History Lesson

66 years ago this week Bicycle Day happened. On April 19th, 1943, Dr. Albert Hofmann took a bike trip. Emphasis on “trip.” Hofmann was a chemist at a Swiss lab called Sandoz. Five years earlier he’d come up with “LSD-25”, a drug he hoped would help people with circulatory problems. But he tested it on animals, and all it seemed to do was make them quote “restless.” So he chucked it.

In 1943, though, Hofmann suddenly decided to whip up another batch. He accidentally got some on his skin — and got pleasantly dizzy. A few days later? He conducted a controlled experiment — on himself. He swallowed a quarter-milligram of LSD, the smallest amount he thought could have any effect. It was plenty to kick-start the world’s first acid trip — and the world’s first bummer. Hofmann started feeling really weird.

And things got weirder on the bike ride home. He pedaled like crazy, but the bike didn’t seem to move. The world curved in at the edges like a funhouse mirror. By the time he got home, he thought he was possessed by demons. But as the drug wore off, everything seemed beautiful! It didn’t work out that way. The CIA tried using LSD for mind control experiments. Baby Boomers started using it to make jam bands sound good. And by 1970, it was banned — even for medical use. Looking back on his discovery, Hofmann called it his “Problem child.”

The Booze

The LSD-25

RECIPE, as invented for the DPD by Daniel Hyatt, bar manager at Alembic in San Francisco:

Into champagne flute, place:
– 4 drops white balsamic vinegar
– 1 drop truffle oil

Then slowly pour in the following — over the back of a spoon — to create separate layers:
– 3/4 oz. crème de Cassis
– 1/2 oz. Campari
– 1/2 oz. Absinthe

Finally, slowly pour in:
– 3 oz. chilled sparkling wine (Gruet demi-sec, or slightly off-dry Prosecco)

Trip out on the colors as the liquors mix. Toss in a twist of lemon peel. Sip. Wait at least an hour before attempting to operate a bicycle.