June 15: Franklin’s Kite

franklinwithkeyYou’ve probably all heard the story of Ben Franklin’s discovery of electricity. The story goes that Franklin tied a key to a kite and then flew the kite in an attempt to extract electricity from an approaching thunder storm. While the exact details of Franklin’s experiment are a subject of debate, it is believed that Franklin conducted it on this day in 1752.

Franklin first proposed that he could prove lightning was electricity in 1750, when he published a paper in which he outlined his “kite in a storm” plan. In May of 1752, French scientist Thomas-François Dalibard, a friend of Franklin’s, used wine bottles and a 40-foot iron pole to extract sparks from the sky. So, allegedly one month later, Franklin conducted his experiment.

It’s believed that when Franklin performed his experiment, he wore some manner of insulation to protect himself against electrocution. Other scientists would not be as wise as Franklin when they attempted to replicate his experiment. For instance, Russian scientist Georg Wilhelm Richmann died when he was electrocuted attempting to recreate Franklin’s work. Regardless, Franklin’s experiment proved to be a success and he was able to collect electric charges off the key, confirming that lightning was electricity.

Franklin’s experiment with the kite and key would lead to a better understanding of electricity, so it’s only fitting that we enjoy a Lightning Bolt.  This turbocharged cocktail is not dissimilar from a vodka Martini, but with the sweet herbal liqueur Galliano replacing the bitter dry vermouth.

  • 1 1/2 ounces Vodka
  • 1 1/2 ounces Galliano

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive.

Tomorrow: Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.

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