Understanding life with the aid of a Tequila Sunrise

Tequila Sunrise garnished with orange and cherry - Evan SwigartI have never had a Tequila Sunrise, a cocktail made from tequila and orange juice (the top orange layer), and grenadine syrup (the bottom red layer). I like tequila but this cocktail may be a bit sweet for me. But I am writing a talk for a meeting in Princeton, about coexisting liquid phases inside our cells, and am looking for analogous systems. A Tequila Sunrise may be one.

It consists of two liquid layers, one on top of the other. As they are both mainly water, eventually they will mix. But the grenadine syrup is denser than the tequila and orange juice mixture, which tends to cause the syrup to sit at the bottom in a layer, which slows down mixing. So the layers should last long enough for you to drink it — if not maybe you’re not drinking fast enough.

My thesis for this part of the talk is that our cells also contain coexisting liquids, and that they may also be transient but still hang around long enough for the cell to do something useful with them. I don’t have definitive proof of all this, but there are certainly coexisting liquids in our cells. Plus, my talk should stand out from all those other talks, the ones without cocktails in them.

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