The year is 2050. Star Wars: Episode XXII has just hit theaters. Season 61 of The Simpsons is streaming on-demand to your hologram box. And the classic singing duo of Kanye West and Taylor Swift are on their second reunion tour. Meanwhile, you just woke up after having a dozen space whiskies the night before and you aren’t hungover one bit.
According to Professor David Nutt, this future could be more reality than fiction. Well, the alcohol part at least. Kanye and Taylor will probably only do one reunion tour. Nutt has been working on a new type of synthetic alcohol, referred to as “alcosynth,” that supposedly gives you all the buzz of booze without the negative side effects like cotton mouth, nausea and headaches. In a discussion with The Independent, the professor at Imperial College and former government drugs advisor (he was fired after saying ecstasy is safer than riding a horse – cool dude!) said he’s patented about 90 of these intoxicating compounds, with two of them currently the focus of testing for potential widespread use.
Nutt hopes that by 2050 alcosynth could even replace traditional booze. “It will be there alongside the scotch and the gin, they'll dispense the alcosynth into your cocktail and then you'll have the pleasure without damaging your liver and your heart,” he was quoted as saying. “They go very nicely into mojitos. They even go into something as clear as a Tom Collins. One is pretty tasteless, the other has a bitter taste.”
Beyond simply preventing hangovers, Nutt claims alcosynth will be a healthier option than alcohol because it can be developed to affect the same areas of the brain without being toxic. He also says scientists could make it impossible to get too “drunk” on the stuff. “We haven't tested it to destruction yet, but it's safer than drinking too much alcohol,” Nutt stated. “With clever pharmacology, you can limit and put a ceiling on the effects, so you can't ever get as ill or kill yourself, unlike with drinking a lot of vodka.”
Whether these “designer alcohols” as I will now dub them would get legal approval is still up in the air. But if what Nutt says is true, the future could certainly involve less Advil and ice packs. The only problem I see is the name. Why call it alcosynth? “Synthohol” is sitting right there, man.