A cocktail menu to sniff, not read
Tippling Club’s new cocktail menu celebrates senses, not preferences. By Natasha Hong.
Eight years after it introduced Singapore to the possibilities of progressive cuisine and modernist cocktails, Tippling Club remains ahead of the curve. For its latest drinks list, chef-owner Ryan Clift and head bartender Joe Schofield teamed up with perfume house International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) to kick start the design process. Instead of relying on an expressed fruit peel to lay a final aromatic touch to an already designed cocktail, the duo wanted to begin with a scent – and quite literally lead customers by the nose.
The “menu” is presented come service in an upturned hawthorne strainer, a bush of slender scent strips threaded into its holes, each imbued with a fragrance that inspired each cocktail and no other description. Customers are encouraged to sniff the lot then order the one that appeals the most. “We keep the ingredients quite simple with the strongest flavours at the start of the blotter,” explains Schofield. “In essence, we want our guests to choose their drink based on the scent they most relate to.” The brief for partner IFF: create aroma facsimiles around 12 evocative keywords such as Rain, Campfire, Grass, Leather and Negroni, to trigger, say, nostalgia, desire or curiosity – emotions that might prompt a guest to select that drink.
Of the challenge, IFF’s creative centre director for its Singapore fragrance department, Johanna Monange said: “We usually take 15 months to create and consumer test one scent for our clients. But for Tippling Club, we had to make 12 scents in four months!” Armed with the perfume portraits, Clift and Schofield then crafted the 12 cocktails, plus special garnishes in the pastry kitchen to paint a richer picture through taste and sight. Rain, for example, plays off whiffs of earth, asphalt and ozone with a grey vodka-based cocktail on which teeters a storm cloud-like piece of bread. Negroni, which Monange says was one of the most difficult to design because of Campari and gin’s ambiguous botanical make-up, is a dead ringer for Tippling’s rich rendition of the drink, made even more flavour-dense through treatment with sound waves. The Sensorium Menu – already, we smell a winner.
Tippling Club / 38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore / +65 6475 2217 / www.tipplingclub.com
This story was first featured in Issue 04 of DRiNK Magazine Greater Asia. Subscribe to the magazine here.