Sipping the nations favourite mid-Sunday morning cocktail has now become another of one life’s great pleasures that ‘has an app for it’. But this time the app won’t whisk your senses away from a real-world experience. Instead, through scientifically designed soundscapes, it focuses them on the matter in hand. It can twist your taste buds from enjoying a rich savoury tomato drink to a mouth-tingling spicy cocktail within seconds.
The ‘Ketel One & Sonic’ app is a digital taste-enhancing experience that uses specially designed soundscapes to dial up different flavour notes of Ketel One’s signature cocktails. From the earthy notes of ginger in a Dutch Mule, to the umami rich tomato in the ubiquitous Bloody Mary.
The soundscapes were developed using research from an area of neuroscience called ‘cross-modal neuroscience’, a scientific discipline that focuses on the way in which our senses (or ‘modes’) are linked.
Sound and music affect our taste buds in two ways. Firstly, through conjuring up memories of a particular time and place, memories that carry emotions and other sensory triggers. For example, the sound of a lawnmower and birdsong will bring out fresh, grassy notes in a drink. Secondly, through hard-wired ‘cross-modal correspondences’. For example, high percussive instruments like piano or bells have been shown to bring out sweet flavours. The low raspy sound of a trombone will enhance bitter notes.
The Ketel & Sonic app was developed for bartenders and brand ambassadors to use at guided tastings and brand events; a way of helping the cocktail-drinking public explore the complexity of flavours in their drinks by actually experiencing them. Instead of searching for the caramel undertones in an espresso martini, the app makes them jump out – amplified by the sound. Then by switching to another sound or reverting back to silence, the taste balances out or changes again.