Forget your cocktails just tasting great, what about sounding, smelling and looking amazing as well! Thomas Aske, from the Fluid Movement consultancy, shares his thoughts on creating modern sensory cocktails that will give your customers that wow experience.

THE MAN BEHIND THE MASKE

My career in hospitality began over 20 years ago. In 1998, the theatrics of cocktail-making was mesmerising to guests. Part of the appeal of a Cosmopolitan, one of the era’s most popular orders, was the flash from the orange zest during the process – indicating an experience was afoot.

In 2010, with a rapidly changing global cocktail culture, I co-founded Fluid Movement - a consultancy business that played a major part in bringing multi-sensory cocktails to the masses.

LIBATIONS TO EVOKE SENSATIONS

When we opened our first bar, Purl, in the spring of 2010, theatrics in bars and restaurants were confined to either Michelin starred restaurants or branded cocktail competitions. Our aim was to change that.

We introduced liquid nitrogen, dry ice, fogs, foams and fragrance to drinks and worked hard to make them accessible to the masses. Using these ingredients to create textural and sensory cocktails at a price point the guest could afford was a tricky act to balance, initially.

This was the beginning of a cocktail revolution that spawned similar bars such as Nightjar, Artesian and The Blind Pig. Guests revelled in the dramatic delights and bartenders thrived in a creative environment that allowed the freedom to express themselves.

Today the trend is still growing, and the creative demands of the bartender are being stretched like never before. However, it is essential that with the opportunities for creativity, the roots of the cocktail remain firmly in what makes a great drink. It simply must taste good.

HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN SENSORY COCKTAILS

In creating a great cocktail, the bartender can attempt to evoke as many senses as is possible. If a drink can evoke sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, you’ve made a great start. But if you can then tie in an emotive element - then you are creating dynamite.

A truly unforgettable cocktail provides the guest with a 360-degree experience, bringing the whole story of the drink to life. Below are some of my favourite multi-sensory drinks we have showcased in the past decade.

CEREZ JOKER

This cocktail was the first drink I encountered designed to evoke the sense of sound.

Initially created by Ryan Chetiyawardana of Dandelyan fame, the exploding garnish became a firm favourite due to its ability to attract the attention of nearby tables.

The shock factor of the exploding balloon would always result in nearby guests wanting to know which cocktail it was and usually ordering one soon after.

RECIPE

METHOD

DETONATED LEMON ZEST

Alcohol content: 19.9g per serve


BULLFIGHTER

RECIPE

METHOD

Alcohol content: 15.6g


CLARIFIED ACE JUICE

RECIPE

METHOD


PINK PEPPERCORN HEERING

RECIPE

METHOD


BLUEBERRY PAINT

RECIPE

METHOD


THYME AIR

RECIPE

METHOD


FUTURE FEELS

Looking to the future of multi-sensory drinking, it is easy to see a shift towards incorporating more technology to serves. We have already seen the integration of augmented reality in menus and VR-inspired cocktails.

The next wave of innovation will see the use of proximity beacons to push information to guests’ smartphones as the drink arrives at the table. Perhaps this information will be about the drink or maybe an automatic link to an emotive video to enhance the story around the drink.

In the not so distant future, the overall cocktail experience will be a fully immersive one that takes the drinker to a new world; a world of flavour.

Keep up with all the bar lingo, tips and tricks @diageobarac on Instagram.

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