Between sixty and seventy percent of our flavor perception is governed by smell.
It’s precisely this olfactory phenomenon that led to the establishment of the world’s first perfume-cocktail bar, Fragrances. Located inside of the Ritz-Carlton in Berlin, Fragrances has created a cocktail menu that allows customers to make a decision by using the intuition of scent.
Mixologist Arnd Heissen is the creative mind who developed the concept of the aroma-oriented menu for Fragrances. He recently paid Kitchen Stories a visit to share the recipe for 23, one of his signature drinks, and to talk about aromatherapy and cocktails.
“Letting customers choose cocktails through scent is great because people actually find out what they really like,” said Heissen. “Most people think they like strawberry, raspberry, and vanilla. Those are the usual flavors that people like, but in Fragrances, the most popular ones are raspberry, frankincense, patchouli, etc. One of our best-selling cocktails is made from magnolia, bourbon, lemon, pear, vanilla bean, and saffron. If you’d read that on a menu, you’d probably never order it.”
There’s more to scent than its influence on flavor perception, though. It’s inextricably linked to our thoughts and feelings, as well. Heissen also relies on the principles of aromatherapy in the creation of his cocktails. “When people choose a perfume, I can tell already how they feel,” he explained. “When you spray a perfume, you actually need what it gives you. If you put on a perfume with verbena, for example, or cypress, it means you want to relieve your mind, get rid of fears, and de-stress.”
As Heissen prepared 23—his cocktail, which calls for Zacapa 23 rum—he provided some background information on the drink’s ingredients and their therapeutic qualities.
“If you really enjoy freshly squeezed orange juice, you’re a positive thinking person or you need positive energy. It’s also balancing. Basically in the morning, when you wake up and drink orange juice, you start with a balance and positivity. Grapefruit juice is very healthy, and it’s very euphoric, especially in the wintertime if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Vanilla is also balancing; whenever you combine vanilla with these other ingredients, it creates harmony and makes the other ingredients more intense. The same can be said for the Earl Grey and bergamot. This is a very peaceful, happy cocktail—just how you feel in summertime.”
Feel like you could use a little tranquility and sunshine in your glass? Then pick up a bottle of Zacapa 23 and an assortment of invigorating fruit juices—and be sure to make Heissen’s signature 23 cocktail today. You’ll find further instruction in the recipe below.
Published on June 11, 2016