Sensory Analysis: Culinary Cocktails
Watch out, it’s time for a quick-fire challenge! Today, our chef challenges us to make a culinary cocktail in 20 minutes. We are divided into three groups, and each group must use a different taste combination of sweet, sour, and bitter.
In case you’re wondering, a culinary cocktail is basically a mix of liquid ingredients that are very unlike the traditional creamy and/or super-sweet cocktails like pina colada and mudslides. Usually it includes herbal extractions, flower essences, vegetable juices, teas, and it can be sour and bitter and salty and overall super yummy! And they usually also have alcohol in them, but in class we make virgin drinks.
We had all these options of different juices, sodas, and condiments. My team decided to use tea, apricot, orange juice, apricot jam, and cardamom. Kind of like an Arnold Palmer. The tea was a really bitter element, and we added the other elements for acid and sweet factors. Overall, it was mostly bitter and sweet.
Then, we had the additional challenge of making a food that had a certain taste in order to affect one of the tastes in the drink. Our goal was to make a sweet food to make the drink taste more bitter. So what you see above is a very sweet BLT – brown sugar bacon, tomato jam, lettuce, and pita bread.
This drink had lime, cucumber, and ginger in it. Yum! There is also a small bite-size crostini with some charred steak on it. The bitter in the food makes the drink taste sweeter.
Alongside this pineapple-based drink we have bites of scallop with salsa.
Basically, this class was all about what happens when we have certain foods with certain types of drinks.
If you have a lot of one taste in a food, and then take a sip of a drink, let’s say sweet food with wine that is sour and sweet, it will make the wine taste more sour. Your taste buds are filled up with the sweet in the food, so then they can’t taste the sweet in the wine as much, and that, in turn, makes the other taste in the wine – sour – more dominant.
Cool, right? Try it next time you are drinking something with your food!!!!