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A Spontaneous Libation for your Consideration

From the Knowledge Vault

Advanced Craft Cocktail Theory: Aroma and Flavor

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).

Recent Additions

  • Hi Falutin — Bourbon, Swedish Punsch, Byrrh
  • Lucky Fool — Brandy, Licor 43, Dry vermouth, Peychaud's Bitters, Citron liqueur, Lime juice
  • Pinball Racket — Rye, Mezcal, Campari, Cynar, Bitters, Cherry
  • Edelweiss — Gin, Dry vermouth, Honey Liqueur, Orange bitters, Grapefruit peel
  • (the) Pilot Light — Mezcal, Crème de mure, Aztec Chocolate bitters, Warm spice liqueur, Lime juice, Cane syrup

Recent Discussion

  • Re Mount Vernon, 1 day 17 hours ago bkemp1984 commented:

    Good stuff. Used a cheaper Spanish brandy and just ran out of Pedro Ximénez but had a sweet vermouth that is Pedro Ximénez based. Also don't stock Cherry Heering to keep the bar smaller but I tried to get my brandied cherry syrup recipe to stand in for it, so poured that in.

  • Re Thyme and Thyme Again, 2 days 9 hours ago dsimsion commented:

    Great fresh chartruese forward drink. May be worth muddling the first thyme sprig in as the thyme could have been more prominent.

  • Re Autumn Sweater (Sepia), 2 days 11 hours ago dsimsion commented:

    Nice drink with a daquiri feel. Made with .75 falernum as suggested, felt about right. Used Smith & Cross though which may have been a bit heavy.

  • Re Twentieth Century Cocktail, 2 days 19 hours ago Biff Malibu commented:

    Going a bit skosh on the lemon juice allows the cacao to come through.

  • Re Bitter End, 5 days ago Craig E commented:

    This is quite similar to Choke Your Mother, as well as to the Have Mercy! on the St. George site.