To most people, the combination of virtual reality (VR), a primarily a visual medium, with cocktails, something usually experienced with taste and smell, would not seem to be an obvious combination. Yet several alcoholic beverage creators have been experimenting with offering VR to enhance the tasting experience. One such experience is taking place at the restaurant of the Conrad Chicago hotel.
The Conrad Chicago hotel is offering a VR experience at its luxury restaurant, the Baptiste & Bottle. At a cost of $95 (USD), customers at the restaurant can order ‘The Macallan Rare Journey’ a VR experience designed to enhance the taste of an exclusive whisky-based cocktail.
The drink itself is a combination of Bodegas Tradicion 30-year Oloroso Sherry and Macallan Rare Cask scotch, which is served to the customer on a wooden tray covered in moss and other vegetation. The customer, by this point wearing an Oculus Rift headset, is able to smell the vegetation, which is designed to evoke the forests where Macallan gathers the wood to make its casks.
The VR headset shows the customer a view of the Macallan distillery whist a voice narrates the distilling process. Meanwhile, a member of restaurant staff is carefully mixing the cocktail, allowing the customer to smell the scotch and sherry. When the VR experience ends, the drink is waiting for them to try.
Baptiste & Bottle and Macallan are not alone in trying this approach. Other whisky distillers such as Glenfiddich have produced similar experiences, and earlier this year a bar in London produced an exclusive cocktail menu that was enhanced with augmented reality (AR) artwork.
VRFocus will bring you further news on VR experiences as it becomes available.