To all of you who survived my first set of articles dealing with theories of craft cocktail construction, I say congratulations. Now the hard work begins. While it’s nice to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of how and why certain craft cocktails work and others do not, there’s a lot more ground to cover in the service of better cocktails.
To this end, I will be writing an open-ended series of articles that deal with refining craft cocktails. Subjects will include aroma and flavor, texture, visual appeal, harmony, context, and inspiration by theft. I’m going to assume that you are comfortable with my original four-part series, and that you’re up for some heavier reading and homework. Are we ready? Let’s begin, shall we?
Unlike the other five senses, no one can say for sure how we smell anything. There are theories out there, each full of massive, unexplained holes. Science has identified G-protein receptors in the neurons in the nose that work together to build a scent out of basic component parts. This won Linda Buck and Richard Axel the 2004 Nobel Prize in Medicine. We know what parts of the brain process this information. We know that we can certainly smell things (and weirdly enough, we can smell everything that has a smell, and we can do it instantaneously – something that violates rules about how the body works).