Food

When bars met perfume: why mixologists are making cocktails inspired by your favourite scents

Posted by
Lucy Frith
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As bars team up with perfume brands to create scented cocktails, Stylist discovers how you can mix your own

Given your tongue can only detect five basic tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami), you can thank your sense of smell for rounding out the rest of your taste experience. Tapping into this symbiotic relationship, mixologists are now creating cocktails inspired by popular perfumes.

At game-changing bar Fragrances in Berlin, guests match cocktails to their favourite scents, while in London, Old Bengal Bar is serving up concoctions based on Penhaligon’s fragrances, and Hawksmoor Spitalfields has mixed three cocktails based on the cult Escentric Molecules 02 fragrance.

Want to up the ante at your next dinner party? Stylist asked Hawksmoor Spitalfields’ bar manager Ali Reynolds for his tips on creating cocktails based on four popular notes…

Sunshine

£31 for 100ml, Paul Smith (debenhams.com)
The note: Jasmine
The cocktail: “The jasmine in this fragrance is quite light and floral, so keep it simple by making a cup of jasmine tea and allowing it to cool, before mixing with an equal amount of sugar to make a syrup. Then make a Ramos Gin Fizz (35ml Tanqueray gin, 15ml lemon juice, 20ml jasmine tea syrup). Stir all the ingredients over ice and serve long, topped with soda.”
 

A Lilac a Day

£145, Vilhelm (liberty.co.uk)
The note: Lilac
The cocktail: “To emulate the delicate fragrance of lilac, make a ‘shrub’ by mixing 50g lilac flowers, 1 sliced green apple, 15ml of cider vinegar, 300ml water and 150g sugar in a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 mins. Strain into a jug. Mix 15ml of the shrub with 50ml apple juice and 50ml Bulleit Bourbon. Stir over ice and top with 15ml soda.”
 

Gucci Oud

£125 for 75ml, Gucci (houseoffraser.co.uk)
The note: Oud
The cocktail: “The best way to match the rich scent of oud is to make a sake negroni. Mix 25ml sake, 20ml sweet vermouth and 20ml Campari over ice in a glass. Then to get a real woody flavour, pour into a traditional cedarwood box or wooden masu (£12.99, japancentre.com) and drink. It’s amazing what a difference the box makes to the flavour.”
 

212 VIP

£49 for 50ml, Carolina Herrera (boots.com)
The note: Tobacco
The cocktail: “Whisky will mimic the smoky notes of the tobacco. Use cooled oolong or lapsang souchong tea to make a syrup with caster sugar and water, then shake with ice, 20ml lemon juice, 20ml whisky and 15ml egg whites.”

Hawksmoor Spitalfields, 157A Commercial Street, London E1; thehawksmoor.com

Illustration: Lukas Laibacher
Escentric Molecules cocktails, £10 each, available until 31 May