Magic Drinks

Red wine transforms to water, milk, raspberry milk shake and fizzy lemonade

Scientific name: Solution of potassium permanganate and sulfuric acid mix with sodium thiosulfate, barium chloride, sodium carbonate solutions


Magic 'drinks'

by Royal Society Of Chemistry


Wear lab gloves. All "drinks" are not for drinking!

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

2MnO4- + 16H+ + 10S2O32- → 2Mn2+ + 5S4O62- + 8H2O

Ba2+ + SO42- → BaSO4

CO32- + 2H+ → H2O + CO2

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Prepare the "red wine" solution: mix 0.4 g of potassium permanganate with 100 ml of 2M sulfuric acid and 1 l of water. Pour this solution in a wine bottle.
  2. Prepare solution of barium chloride: 24 g of BaCl2 in 100 ml of water.
  3. Prepare solution of sodium thiosulfate: 25 g of Na2S2O3 in 100 ml of water.
  4. Place 5 glasses on the table. The first glass should be empty, the second one - with sodium thiosulfate (1 ml), the third one - with barium chloride (3 ml) and sodium thiosulfate (1 ml), the fourth one - with barium chloride (3 ml), and the fifth glass - with sodium carbonate (3 ml) and sodium thiosulfate (1 ml).
  5. Pour the acidified potassium permanganate solution from the wine bottle into each glass.

Scientific background

In the reaction of the purple solution of the permanganate ions with thiosulfate ions, colorless Mn(2+) is formed.

This reaction provides the discoloration of the purple solution in the 2nd, 3rd and 5th glasses. In the 2nd glass "pure water" or "white wine" is formed.

White barium sulfate precipitates in the 3rd glass, and a milk-like solution is formed. There are no thiosulfate ions in the 4th glass, and purple color remains. But Ba2+ ions produce white precipitate with SO42- ions. The "raspberry milk shake" is formed. When the "red wine" solution is poured into the 5th glass, permanganate ions are reduced by thiosulphate ions and in parallel sodium carbonate reacts with sulfuric acid. CO2 is gassing from this solution.. It looks like a "fizzy lemonade".


Published on 10 March 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst