The Berkeley has raised the bar with Out of the Blue—an “immersive” cocktail experience; a journey of taste where all the senses are stimulated through a combination of fine ingredients and bespoke technology (think: high-tech audio/video and aromatherapy). Created in partnership with Bacardi Limited, Out Of The Blue launches today at The Blue Bar, but Luxury Travel Advisor had a sneak peek last week.
Our verdict: Mysterious, delicious and extremely fun!
Up to four guests are whisked to a secret space within the hotel—the room, only slightly larger than a closet and set with a table and four chairs, has been outfitted with an A/V system beyond compare—there are 360 degrees of screens; even scents have been mechanized as different aromas are sent into the room, timed with the video . Four mystery drinks in black ceramic glasses, specifically designed to keep the correct temperature, are in front of each guest and as the video begins to play you have seven minutes to guess the combination of ingredients in each drink. Sounds easy? It’s not!
“The hotel invented Out of the Blue to try and answer the question, 'Why are the most delicious cocktails more than the sum of their parts?'," Daniel Baernreuther, director of food and beverage at The Berkeley, explained to us before we began. "While the elements of a drink may stay the same, the taste can be enhanced or even transformed by your surroundings. It's the reason why a Daiquiri will often taste better whilst watching the sunset on a beach overlooking the Caribbean Sea, rather than at home in the kitchen.”
Baernreuther and his team spent 18 months experimenting with how the context of a drink affects flavor, working with tech experts Igloo and sensory specialists Sensiks to create a journey of taste where all senses are stimulated simultaneously.
“By stripping away the traditional cues, Out of the Blue brings a focus on ingredients, allowing our guests the chance to explore taste through a blank canvas and experience cocktails like never before,” Baernreuther added as we set off.
The drinks take inspiration from the Blue Bar’s True Colours menu, a set menu of four taster-sized cocktails developed by the Blue Bar team using premium spirits from Bacardi Limited portfolio. The video, audio and scents enhance each flavor, but we won’t share any more or it will spoil the surprises. Suffice to say, Out of the Blue is a most enjoyable journey, that makes you question how your brain impacts everything you taste.
Out Of The Blue is available starting November 15 with hourly slots between 5:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., priced at £200 (approximately $263; inclusive of VAT) for up to four guests; the space is an exclusive hire, so for two people the entire space must still be booked. For reservations email [email protected] or via the website.