The practice of serving counterfeit liquor is very common in many countries. Bar owners just want to save a little over the top and serve cheap material in their clubs. This is not only unethical but can be harmful to the consumers as well. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently came up with a portable device that can tell the difference.
Keneth S. Suslick and Zheng Li were behind the device. It consists of a handheld image analyzer that contains a disposable sensor cartridge. This device, when exposed to the vapors of a liquor sample, sees an array of 36 dyes within the sensor change color.
Comparing this color pattern to a database can help identify counterfeit liquor. All this process only takes 2 minutes. The device has already been tested in a lab and was able to correctly identify the alcoholic content and brand of 14 different liquors including scotch, whiskeys, bourbon, rye, brandy, and vodka. It was also able to determine when liquors had been watered down by as little as one percent.
This might be a handy tool to keep in person so you can keep in check what you are drinking.