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What’s in that Cocktail?

These dishes and drinks remind us that some 75% of what we perceive as taste comes from our sense of smell. Flavour is nothing without aroma. Before the tongue even comes into contact with food, our noses are already assessing the fragrance of the dish or cocktail in front of us. Chefs and bartenders alike know all too well the symbiotic relationship between smell and taste, and have come up with creations where the perfumery of a dish takes centre stage.

The mixologists at Tippling Club have always placed huge emphasis on how the fragrance of a cocktail enhances its taste. Its signature Juniper Sling was created for the launch of a Penhaligons perfume of the same name, with flavours based on the actual nosing notes of the perfume. Bubble Tea, a recent concoction, is a drink of melon- and mangosteen-infused Tanqueray Ten, citrus and gomme, served in a glass topped with apple bubbles. As you take a sip, the bubbles pop to reveal the distinct aroma of apples, adding a fruity layer to the floral and zesty notes of the cocktail. Further drawing parallels between tipples and fragrances, Jekyll and Hyde mixologist Jeff Ho has come up with two cocktails for Chanel. In a straightforward match, Coco Mademoiselle is complemented with a concoction comprising lychee liqueur, gin and grapefruit juice, to mimic the perfume’s fruity notes. For Coco Noir, Ho delves deeper into the idea of pairing and creates a cocktail as an extension of the perfume. A sniff of Coco Noir to pick up its notes of bergamot and musk is followed by a sip of Ho’s dark chocolate liquor-based drink. The round vanilla and chocolate flavours carry the base notes of Coco Noir and it seems like one is drinking in the perfume.

Inspired by childhood memories of enjoying popcorn while watching movies, Chef Janice Wong of 2am: dessertbar has created a popcorn-inspired dessert with flavour elements of both sweet and salty popcorn, playing with diners’ sense of sight, taste and smell, as well as nostalgia. Simply named Popcorn, this new dessert comprises salted popcorn parfait and sweet-popcorn parfait plated with yuzu parfait, passion fruit sorbet, caramelised popcorn powder and salted caramel sauce. The dessert is served with an accompanying custom-made ceramic tube with an open end. This tube is heated and filled with freshly popped buttered popcorn which emits its unmistakable fragrance, adding a familiar aroma to the sensory appeal of the dessert.


By Joyce Huang, The Peak Selections, Gourmet & Travel, Issue 12

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