Did you know that you taste with your nose? In fact, all five senses can play a major role in a customer’s enjoyment of a cocktail, which is why it’s so important that bartenders understand how to perfect their cocktail craft through the use of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.
The Grey Goose Sensory Lab seminar, held during Chilled 100 Elevate, gave bartenders an interactive, hands (and nose)-on demonstration of just how important the senses are. The seminar was presented by Jaymee Mandeville, Director of Education, TEAM Enterprises, Susie Stiers, Beverage Developer at Bacardi Martini and Grey Goose Vodka Senior Brand Ambassador Marie Piraino.
Participants started by holding their noses and tasting jelly beans. While everyone agreed that they could taste the sugar, it was difficult to identify the specific flavor until they unplugged their noses and could smell the cherry essence.
The group then put blue dye on their tongues, and placed a small cut-out circle on the surface. Counting the number of bumps, or taste receptors, that were located within the inner circle determined if they were super tasters (a lot of bumps), average tasters or non-tasters.
Not surprisingly, those who were super tasters did better than those who were not in the next task; after mixing water into five separate cups that held a second substance, participants were asked to identify whether each substance was sweet, sour, bitter, salty or savory (umami). Needless to say, some of us non-tasters aren’t going to give up our day jobs anytime soon.
Color also has an effect on taste, and audience members were asked to read a list of words on a screen that were written in different colors to show how the brain correlates color to words. An example of the Stroop Effect, named after the psychologist who discovered it, the experiment shows that people have a tendency to experience difficultly naming a physical color when it is used to spell the name of a different color.
Bartenders then sampled four different liquids to see how the color affected the taste. And while many people (probably unknowingly) based what they tasted on the color of the drink or the smell, only one person correctly identified all four drinks as being the same product—Grey Goose Essences Strawberry and Lemongrass, from its new line of vodkas infused with real fruit and botanical essences that were created during the pandemic.
Not only was the seminar fun and memorable—in part because it took a little while to get that blue color off the tongue—but it provided a lot of intriguing information that can be used by bartenders to enable their customers to have a full sensory experience the next time they try a new cocktail.