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Kathy’s Drinks Cabinet – What’s Really Inside?

Martin Perkins

18th August 2017

Alcohol, DHS, Dynamic Headspace, Kathy Ridgway, MPS Robotic, Multi-Volatile Method, MultiPurpose Sampler, MVM, SBSE, Sean O'Connor, Solid Phase Microextraction, SPME, Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction, Twister,


It’s a lovely weekend, so let’s get some friends over and have a BBQ.

The beer and wine flows as the first lot of burgers burn.  Everyone has bought a bottle or a 4 pack and the evening is going well; and you may get a well-cooked sausage at some point.

It starts to get late and the beer and wine starts to run dry and all eyes turn to the drinks cabinet; what unexpected delights does it contain?

  • Whisky, vodka, gin?  – probably
  • Some liqueurs? (bought a few years ago for a cake recipe)
  • A bottle of sherry? – only opened when Aunty Mary comes around at Christmas
  • Something unpronounceable you bought on holiday, that never tasted as good when you got it home?
  • A 25 year old unopened bottle of cinzano?
  • A highly potent, Bulgarian concoction that smells like disinfectant?

A vast range of drinks are now available, designed to suit all tastes.  Subtle differences in their composition can have a big influence on consumer preferences.

Drink manufacturers, want us to enjoy their products enough so that we select it again from the supermarket shelf for the next BBQ. Characterising and understanding consumer preferences is mission critical.  They also need to ensure the quality of their product and the integrity of their brand.

Analysts have to know as much about their product as they possibly can to ensure customer satisfaction and consistency over time.

No one analytical technique can deliver all of the information needed and so we always apply a number of different analytical and sample prep techniques to provide the full picture.

Kathy recently sampled a few drinks from her cabinet, with the aim of analysing them in our lab to demonstrate how different analytical techniques can provide you with different information.

Kathy is just completing the analysis in our lab which will compare Solid Phase Micro Extraction (SPME), Twister Stir-Bar Sorptive Extraction (SBSE), Dynamic Headspace (DHS) and the DHS Multi-Volatile Method (MVM) – which is the most comprehensive volatiles sampling technique of all.

You can do all of this on one GC-MS and all of these sampling techniques are available on the new GERSTEL MPS Robotic.

Next month we will have the results of Kathy’s experiments and I will share them with you.

In the meantime, click on the links above to find out more about each technique.

If you wish to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact us, either by calling +44 (0)1223 279210, or by email.