Science, as we know, involves lots of interesting glassware filled with bubbling fluids, condensing, percolating, spinning and being pushed through tubes. A pan across such equipment establishes that we're in a laboratory. When the pan ends with a scientist pouring the final product into a martini glass, adding an olive and drinking it, that's this trope. The drink doesn't have to be alcoholic.
There is a magical version of this trope, replacing the scientist with a wizard or witch. The Technicolor Science becomes Technicolor Magic, but looks remarkably similar. In essence, extensive arcane equipment is used to make an unexpectedly mundane drink.
Often a subtrope of Mundane Utility.
- In Gundam SEED, the desert tiger has many scenes where he makes coffee out of tubes and bubbling pots and whatnot.
- In Gaston Lagaffe, Gaston builds a complex device to make coffee. The resulting liquid turns out to be extremely strong.
- In Corpse Bride, Elder Gutknecht creates a sorcerous variant.
- In The Pagemaster, Dr. Jekyll drinks his infamous potion from a martini glass, complete with an olive.
- In Back to the Future Part III, Doc Brown has this elaborate machine in his Old West blacksmith shop. Takes up most of the room it's in. When he activates it, the thing huffs and puffs and shakes and finally, after all this ostentatious display, spits out two ice cubes. Effective for the implied humor, but also fairly realistic as creating a refrigeration unit in that time with limited materials and technology would result in a large machine.
Marty: It's... a refrigerator?
- The Green Hornet: Kato makes apparently extremely good coffee with this big scientific industrial looking machine that he made and only he knows how to use.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022): in the beginning, Dr. Robotnik uses an overcomplicated machine to create mushroom coffee.
- Isaac Asimov:
- "I Just Make Them Up, See!": This poem guesses at some sort of insane bubbling potion that inspires Dr Asimov's storytelling.
- Nine Tomorrows: The 1960 Bantam Books cover uses beakers, erlenmeyer flasks, test tubes, and pipes to showcase how much SCIENCE is happening inside.
- Harry Potter: Potions class have the characters blending exotic things in a cauldron to make a drinkable mixture.
- Spider Robinson's Callahan series: Jake Stonebender owns a Rube Goldberg contraption that looks a bit like a 50s movie doomsday device. Its sole purpose is to make the perfect cup of coffee.
- The bubbling cauldron at the start of Wyrd Sisters turns out to be just water; the three witches are making tea.
- Parodied at Cam’s wedding reception in Bones where Hodgins is mixing drinks for the guests in beakers. There’s even an accidental explosion of something, with Hodgins waving away smoke and saying “my bad...”
- Breaking Bad: When Walt first enters the "superlab" of premium science equipment for he best meth production, he asks his new lab partner Gale about the contraption of glassware. It turns out that Gale is just as rigourously scientific about making coffee as he is about anything else. After tasting it, Walt agrees with his methods.
- On M*A*S*H the still in the Swamp was originally this when it was first built.
- In one episode of NCIS, after spending hours manually distilling blood samples during a power outage, Abby uses the same apparatus to brew herself a shot of nonalcoholic whiskey.
- Star Trek: Enterprise. Captain Archer gets caught out on a covert mission to a pre-warp drive civilisation this way. He watches a woman create a liquid from her equipment, and asks in a hushed voice what it is. She gives him a funny look as it's their version of tea.
- In Girl Genius, Agatha makes a coffee maker that ends up being this.
- Episode #45 of the webcomic The Snail Factory has a gag like this, but with a more industrial take; and chocolate.
- Questionable Content brings us the priceless line: "Cooking is science for hungry people!"
- On the Looney Tunes short "Hot Crossed Bunny", Bugs Bunny threatens to blow up a Mad Doctor with a mixture of chemicals, but the scientist points out that all he did was prepare a chocolate malt. Bugs drinks it and declares, "I'm a better scientist than I thought."
- The introduction to the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon has Donatello fiddling with a complex machine that makes him a drink.
- One episode of The Simpsons features a fancy restaurant where the food is "deconstructed," and drank out of test tubes, or eaten in bite-sized spheres.
- In Hey Arnold!, Arnold asks if an exotic glass-tube contraption will provide the forensic results they need, and Gerald replies that it's just to make hot chocolate.
- Molecular gastronomy / molecular mixology is the real life version of this; molecular gastronomy combines this with an aversion/subversion (depending on your point of view) of Cordon Bleugh Chef (the ingredients indicate the food shouldn't taste good, but it somehow does).
- Some modern fusion restaurants that don't necessarily have elements of molecular gastronomy in their menu still serve drinks in test tubes or flasks. This is a trend among modern Chinese restaurants, where it is known as "test tube juice" (usually consisting of mixed fruit and vegetable juices) and is served as a kind of dessert.