The cocktail boat

Integr Comp Biol. 2014 Dec;54(6):969-73. doi: 10.1093/icb/icu052. Epub 2014 May 22.


We describe the inspiration, development, and deployment of a novel cocktail device modeled after a class of water-walking insects. Semi-aquatic insects like Microvelia and Velia evade predators by releasing a surfactant that quickly propels them across the water. We exploit an analogous propulsion mechanism in the design of an edible cocktail boat. We discuss how gradients in surface tension lead to motion across the water's surface, and detail the design considerations associated with the insect-inspired cocktail boat.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Beverages
  • Biomimetic Materials / chemical synthesis*
  • Equipment Design
  • Ethanol
  • Heteroptera / metabolism
  • Heteroptera / physiology*
  • Ships
  • Surface Tension*
  • Surface-Active Agents / chemistry*


  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Ethanol