I need a miracle.
April 1, 2007 7:02 AM   Subscribe

Water to wine mechanics- help me perform a miracle. I need help for a costume party stunt involving a box of wine and the ability to dispense it miraculously.

I'm going to a Jesus themed party in a week. I'm hoping to come as Jesus transforming water into wine. I've rigged up a harness that lets me carry a 4L box of wine on my back, and I'm hoping to find some way to perform a miraculous water to wine conversion.

I had a vague idea that some sort of tube coming through my sleeve would allow me to wave my hand over a glass and fill it with wine, but I have no idea how to regulate the flow or how to attach the tube, and neither do I have any miraculous ways to remove the water first.

Any suggestions? If it's all a bit too hard, other creative ideas for a Jesus theme wouldn't go astray.
posted by twirlypen to Food & Drink (23 answers total)
I'm going to sidestep the messy crucifixion jokes here.

If you came with an unlimited supply of bread and fish, that'd be pretty cool...

Is it necessary that anyone *drink* the "wine"? Because if it starts as water, it's going to taste pretty awful.

Perhaps you could drop a packet of something fiercely red into some water?

Crystal Lite Raspberry Ice comes in tiny, one-serving packets. It will stain just about anything a deep shade of crimson, instantly, and would work perfectly if you could handle a bit of misdirection... (Not to imply Jesus himself was a magician or anything...)

You could come with a "blind" person and mud...

Or you could walk around rambling parables...
posted by disillusioned at 7:31 AM on April 1, 2007

Well, people will definitely like the costume better if you're serving them wine at a party & not Crystal Lite.

It could get messy if you didn't do it right (red wine drips all over someone's carpet wouldn't be a good thing), but I keep imagining you somehow connecting a tube to the wine box and then running that up & under your arm with a spigot hidden in your hand.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:56 AM on April 1, 2007

instead of using the box wine, why not add powdered wine to the water?

i'm sure it will taste like plonk, but good for the joke.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:56 AM on April 1, 2007

that link didn't quite work as intended. search for "bulk burgundy powder" and "bulk chablis powder" in that list.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:58 AM on April 1, 2007

You could rig up a siphon to aspirate the water from the glass by letting water run from a pouch on your shoulder to a pouch on your hip, with t-junction that split off down your sleeve. You'd let water run briefly directly down to your hip, then turn the t-valve so it aspirated from the glass instead of from the shoulder reservoir. Then close or pinch the tubing and open the tubing flowing directly from the box of wine on your other shoulder.

I know it would be a bit of work, and you'd have to play with tubing diameter and timing to get the siphon to work just right, but I think you could do it if you're fairly mechanically inclined.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 8:00 AM on April 1, 2007

You'll be wanting a Camelbak (a flexible bag that's traditionally filled with water, strapped to your back, with an attached tube and a valve that you can hold discreetly in your hand), rather than a home-made secret wine dispenser. I know that outdoor recreation stores have bunches of rather cheap solutions for liquid dispensing.
posted by muddgirl at 8:15 AM on April 1, 2007

How about starting out with a glass of white wine (the clearer the better) that you call water. You'd simply walk up to someone with a glass of 'water' already in hand. Then, instead of dumping it and transforming it into wine, just covertly squeeze a couple drops of red food coloring into it turning it into red wine. That way people can taste it to prove its wine. You just can't let people try it as 'water.'

Its certainly a LOT easier than rigging up a box of wine on your back.
posted by Thrillhouse at 8:32 AM on April 1, 2007

How about something from a magic shop, like this?
posted by houseofdanie at 8:54 AM on April 1, 2007


I'm sorry I'm too tired to think about what would make this possible for you, but here are some other resources.
posted by bilabial at 8:55 AM on April 1, 2007

If you want to carry the wine on your back for instant wine dispersal, that's one trick. Getting the water out of the glass is another.

Here's a trick from Penn and Teller. You need non-translucent cups with lids and straws. Fill a cup with wine. Take a straw and fill it with water by sticking it in a glass and putting your finger over the top while removing it. With your finger still over the top, place the straw full of water into the cup of wine. You can remove your finger from the top of the straw after inserting it if you are ginger with the cup after that, and you don't dawdle. Announce your miracle and then quickly draw the straw from the cup with your finger again over it. Dump the straw full of water onto a surface to show that there is nothing but water in the cup. Then get all Jesusy and take your time ... the trick's already over. When the moment is right, pop the lid off the cup and pour the wine.

Practice first to make sure you've got it down.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:39 AM on April 1, 2007 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You can totally perform this miracle. I'd look into a stopcock attached to a (food-safe!) plastic or rubber tubing. This can be attached to the camelpak (super idea), but make sure the tube will be long enough to run down your sleeve. Some grafting may be necessary. You can operate the stopcock by slight of hand, for sure, especially with long, wide sleeves (toga??).

I'm having a difficult time envisioning the water part though - are they bringing you a cup of water? Or?? Some thoughts on the water end:
  • wear an obvious camelpak filled with water, but the wine comes out of a tube attached to the hidden pak. if you want to get fancy about moving water in and out of the water camelpak, you could...
  • have another tube in the other sleeve, use water pressure. yay physics?
  • have them empty the cup of water into the top section of your pack, then get the wine from your sleeve. Requires trusting people, good pack.

    Failing that, dispensing white wine from one side, doing a "now for my miracle" and adding food coloring, could suffice, as suggested above. But where's the mystery in that??

  • posted by whatzit at 9:43 AM on April 1, 2007

    Best answer: oooh , Bookhouse may be onto something.
    What about a container (box wine?) that's split into two sections? Pour the water into one side, close it, shake, pour wine from the other side.

    Doesn't require fanciness, just practice. plus you can go to the party in the loincloth and crucifix, instead of a big sheet.
    posted by whatzit at 9:45 AM on April 1, 2007

    Look, if you're out of luck pull the Family Guy version of Jesus miracles.
    posted by filmgeek at 9:48 AM on April 1, 2007

    Well, I've placed a bag of wine from a box a franzia down my pants, put the spout through my fly, and served guest that way.... But that was for a Cosmonaut party.
    posted by glibhamdreck at 9:55 AM on April 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

    Heron of Alexandria did this same trick (search down for "heron").
    posted by DU at 10:08 AM on April 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

    wear two camelbacks (or whatever), put both hoses down the same sleeve and sort of just be slick about which one you use and even if some jerk points out that you're just using the water hose when you want water and wine when you want wine, nobody else will care, you got the message across and you gave them wine too. you win.

    you could also get ambitious and have one hose, with a valve switched in your other hand or something, boom, as you're pouring water, suddenly the flow changes to wine, but ugh, untasty.

    white wine with the food coloring trick is a great idea.
    posted by qbxk at 12:46 PM on April 1, 2007

    Nest two clear plastic cups, with a little water between them, so that the base of the inner cup pushes the water's surface up between the sides of the cups and forms the illusion of a single cup half-full of water. Add a little water to the bottom of the inner cup.

    Now you can hold up the "cup" to show that it's full of water, pour out the water inside to show that it's clear, and then fill the cup with wine from your sleeve tube a little higher than the water line, hold it up, and let someone have a sip to prove that it's wine - the water line between the cups will be invisible against the dark red wine.

    But you can't give the cup to anyone, since it's gaffed.

    Alternatively, you could just cook some red wine down in a saucepot on the stove to make red wine syrup, and add that to the water. Hold up the glass of water, pour a little out, let someone drink some, then add the syrup and voilá.
    posted by nicwolff at 2:00 PM on April 1, 2007

    But, note that cooking the wine down will cook off the alcohol as well as the water - I guess you could fortify the syrup with a little grain alcohol.
    posted by nicwolff at 2:02 PM on April 1, 2007

    I remember doing some version of this when I was younger (except in reverse) with Red Cabbage boiled down to a purple liquid and then turned clear(ish) by secretly adding a bit of baking soda I think. You could turn it back to deep red by adding vinegar or lemon juice.

    A similar chemistry-based solution (that goes in the direction you want) is here as long as you have some phenolphthalein and sodium hydroxide lying around.

    Don't drink this.
    posted by Jeff Howard at 5:16 PM on April 1, 2007

    As an alternative to the Camelpak, there's that "beer belly" bladder that's meant to stash beer during games. I can't remember what it's called for the life of me, but someone here knows what I'm talking about.
    posted by mkultra at 5:29 PM on April 1, 2007

    nah, Jesus definitely had a Beer Buddy.
    posted by whatzit at 9:34 PM on April 1, 2007

    Forget about the water aspect, just be a wine dispenser. If you can figure a way to keep the beer cold, run beer from the other arm. If somebody brings you a cup of water, demanding a miracle, say "here's your miracle", dump the water into the bushes (or sink), and fill it with wine. Cover with something like "yeah, people were a lot more gullible in my day...".

    And definitely rehearse the Family Guy Jesus "miracles". Life of the party.
    posted by LordSludge at 6:35 AM on April 2, 2007

    it's a classic magic trick! Save yourself all the hassle and spend $20 on a Foo Can. Google will show you lots of versions.
    posted by brautigan at 9:19 AM on April 2, 2007

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