TotC: Sensory Perception Teaser

Darcy O'Neil :: June 18, 2008 8:26 PM

There is now less than one month to go before Tales of the Cocktail. I'm looking forward to going, again, this year and I've started assembling my presentation, Sensory Perception and Mixology (What Your Taste Buds are Telling You). If you are a bartender, chef, enthusiastic mixologist or just anyone who likes to know what they are drinking, then this session is a must. Sure, I like my presentation, but let me explain why you will really enjoy it.

Let’s Talk About Taste

The presentation looks at how we taste, but also at how we perceive flavours. Now, most people think you only taste the primary flavours (sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami) but the reality is very different.

Did you know that your mood can affect how you taste? In a recent scientific paper it was concluded that levels of three primary brain chemicals (dopamine, seratonin and norepinephrine) all affect taste. These brain chemicals deal mostly with mood.

So how, as someone who mixes drinks, is this going to help you? Well, if you can identify someone's mood, you can serve them a cocktail to fit that mood. For example, depressed people have less ability to taste, so, that vodka martini will probably make them more depressed because it will taste even more like nothing.  However, if you serve them something with stronger, brighter flavours, you are more likely to make a positive connection. Good time to introduce the gin.

If you are serving a group of cheerleaders whose team just won the state championship, their taste perception will be more fine tuned (increase in dopamine). Anything bitter will be perceived as more bitter than normal. So it would be a good time to sling Cosmos.

That is just one example of the things we are going to tackle in the session. We will also be looking at how viscosity, temperature, genetics, aroma and social aspect affect how things taste.

And of course you will be finding out whether you are a non-taster, normal taster or super-taster using a genetically specific taste test.

 Sensory Perception and Mixology
What Your Tastebuds are Telling You

When: Friday July 18th at 4:30PM
Location: Hotel Monteleone, 214 Rue Royal
Tickets: $40 (Available Now )

My Tales of the Cocktail Schedule

For those that are attending Tales of the Cocktail, here is my informal schedule. Since I’m heading down solo, I’ll have lots of time to chat and drink. Feel free to email me.

Wednesday: Arrive at Hotel 1:00PM (hopefully)
Wednesday: 4:30 to 6:00PM Cocktail Blogger Reception
Thursday: 7PM to 11PM: Spirited Dinner (La Cote) more on this soon
Friday: 10AM to ??? Small Screen Network Video
Friday: 4:30 to 6:00PM: Sensory Perception and Mixology
Saturday: 3PM to 6PM Cocktail Cinema (more on this soon)

There will probably be a couple more additions but I think that is it. Anytime that is blank I’ll probably be hanging out in the Carousel Bar, or other fine drinking establishment in New Orleans.


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