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Transcript of 4D Bartending
A simplified guide through the 4 Dimensions of the Cocktail Experience as seen by Danil Nevsky...
This leads us to the 1st Dimension of Flavour...
1st Dimension: Mouth Taste Buds
Every sip of every cocktail you've ever had has been a combination of 4 main tastes coming together in a beautiful symphony of flavour on your tongue...
Umami or Savouriness
Japanese scientists have recently identified a 5th taste. Umami aka Savouriness is the savoury sensation that appears most often in the cocktail such as the Bloody Mary.
In our search for perfection in taste we neglect the other important ability of the mouth....
An ability of the mouth that cannot be denied but is often ignored...
This follows into the 2nd Dimension of Flavour
2nd Dimension: Mouthfeel
Just like the hands the mouth has a sense of "touch" and can feel other aspects of drinks that all play a role in our perception of flavour.
This refers to the sharpness or spiciness of something like chile peppers or the subtle building heat of black pepper. Piquancy can be toned down by sweetness and texture effecting ingredients such as egg white.
Ever had a red wine that made your mouth drier than the Sahara Desert? That is your mouth "Puckering" in reaction to tannins. Other foods that cause this sensation are strong black tea and cranberries.
Knowing this is great when food pairing dry drinks with a juicy dish.
Sometimes to better understand how we taste flavour we need to flip our perceptions upside down...
Aroma accounts for almost 80% of what we taste. While our mental perception of certain ingredients can help bring balance to a cocktail...
This brings us to our 3rd Dimension...
3rd Dimension: Nosey & the Brain
Everyone knows the famous "Mint" test. Holding your nose closed and chewing mint releases no mint flavour whilst unblocking your nostrils releases that fresh aroma. What nobody thinks about is what effect does this create? Why are Mojitos so popular in the summer?
Have you ever tried looking at ingredients as a collection of noises trying to form a melody? Nobody pays too much attention to the bass during a rock song but it ties everything together. In the same way Creme de Violet is loud and proud whilst apple juice is more subtle. In the same way this helps with balance it also helps with achieving a particular flavour.
Every ingredients in every drink ever created has a different "weight". Bananas, chocolate and cream tend to be heavier than passion fruit, orange juice and milk. We always ask customers how the like their drinks. What about what they last ate? It can make the difference between 2 ordered cocktails and 1 unfinished one.
So what's next?
With every new dimension you explore, with every new layer of flavour you impart into your beverage you risk losing another. A short man once said that "Balance is Key". So what is the 4th Dimension? Well sometimes you need to think....
...outside the box!
The 4th Dimension
We enter the Visual, the Emotional, the Mental realm of cocktails.
The name of the cocktail invokes particular feelings and thoughts in a customer. So the taste, look and presentation need to reflect this. If the name has no connection with the final presentation it bears no point.
Visually the cocktail has to represent what is in the glass and what is on paper. Raspberries? The customer expects red. If the name is more complicated so is the serve. You should almost never have to explain why a cocktail looks the way it does or why the ritual of service is the way it is.
Cocktails have the power to emotionally connect with those drinking them. From the holiday nostalgia of the use of a cocktail umbrella to the smell of Autumn by burning a maple leaf and using it as a coaster. People watch television, read books and travel. A bar which can connect drinks with those experiences is the best bar in the world.
I hope that after seeing this presentation you have been inspired to look at cocktails from a new angle. May your imbibing journey be fruitful and your beverage legacy great!
Whether we like it or not the weather effects all of us emotionally and physically. Serving a hot soup special in winter makes sense. The same can be said for cocktails. Depending on the Season customers gravitate towards different flavours. Mojito/Basil Smash/Miami Vice combo for the summer anyone?
Usually, the customer doesn't know/like the sound of balsamic vinegar and strawberry syrup. This doesn't mean you shouldn't use it. How does "Italian-Style Strawberry Syrup" or "Strawberry Syrup de Modena" sound? How about just "Strawberry & Balsamic"?
Most drinks are served cold but there is a reason you crave a Hot Toddy on a cold winters day. Temperature also effects perception. For example, coldness suppresses sweetness.
A drink's texture is central to its mouth-feel. Commonly, egg white is used but with the advent of molecular gastronomy more stable compounds have been found such as Xanthan Gum.
This also plays an important role in food-pairing. Serving a creamy drink with a crispy dish serves as a contrast and smooths out the experience. Both aspects of the serve complimenting each other.
This fancy word refers to foods that play tricks on the brain or the tingle from carbonated beverages. From the supposed "heat" from ginger to the "cold" of peppermint. This is particularly useful when balancing out flavours outside the taste bud spectrum.
Nosey: Gee, Brain what are we going to do tonight?
Brain: Same thing we do every night, Nosey - try to decipher signals from our taste buds to identify flavour based on the said ingredients chemical composition and aromatic compounds released during consumption!
In the beginning God created man. Then man created cocktails. The End.