The cocktail industry dwells on innovation and KMC* in Fort, Mumbai is set to prove this right with a new bar program that sets an all-new standard. Conceptualised by KMC*’s Head Mixologist, Jishnu AJ, the Perfumed Mixology program plays with aromatic fragrances as the base to create unique concoctions that mirror the respective aromas.
After approximately two months of research, the bar team at KMC* settled for a fragrant choice of scents – jatamansi rose, lavender aniseed, coriander cinnamon, cumin & curry leaves, vetiver and mace.
Head Mixologist, Jishnu AJ spoke to LuxeBook about KMC*’s new bar program, taking us through the process right from ideation to creation.
What inspired you to explore the use of perfumes in mixology?
Perfumers and mixologists have a lot of similarities. We both work with unique ingredients and aromas and strive to provide a unique experience for our customers. That’s how I got this idea of incorporating perfumes into cocktails.
How did you choose the fragrances you’ve worked with?
The best part about this menu is all the perfumes work well with all the spirits. Because they’re all hydrosols, I could conjure up fragrances that could work with the spirit of the guest’s choice.
How do you strike a balance between the delicate fragrance of perfumes and the traditional flavours in a cocktail?
To me, trying a new cocktail is an experience that should leave an impact. At KMC*, as a brand, we ensure whatever we do, we do it with extra effort and get more experimental each time.
As a part of this experiment what we have done is convert the perfume into a flavour. So we are not exactly balancing the two. We are using the same ingredient combinations for both. Only the processes are different.
Did you encounter any challenges or unexpected outcomes during the experimentation process?
Not really. The most significant part of making perfumes is the distillation process. I have been distilling ingredients for almost 5 years now. So I would argue that I have pretty much mastered distilling and mix-matching these ingredients.
What are some of the fragrances and what spirit base do you choose for each?
All of our fragrances go with every base spirit. But some of my favourite fragrances that we created in-house include Rosemary-Sandalwood, Chocolate-Orange, Mixed-Spice, Vetiver-Cardamom, and Jatamaansi-Rose.
Can you take us through the process, from the creation of the fragrance to the final cocktail?
It is very similar to how perfumers make their perfumes. We create a hydrosol. It involves a process where you boil your ingredients with water. You then condense the vapours that rise, into a liquid form. The end product of this process is the strongest extract of whatever ingredients you used. If you add some sweetness and acids to this extract, it turns into a cordial. This cordial is a potion that can be used with any spirit.
How do you ensure that the perfume mixology approach enhances the overall drinking experience for your customers?
In comparison with other bars, our menu definitely stands out because of this. As you mentioned, it’s a drinking *experience*. And with this, we are providing a memorable experience to our guests.
Moreover, with this, you also have the option to choose your spirit and your preferred perfume. You can also choose the style of cocktail i.e. without ice, with ice; in a nice old-fashioned glass or a highball with fizz in it. We also offer a non-alcoholic mocktail version of this. So it’s not just an interactive experience but a highly personalised one too. What else does one need?
Can you share any future plans or innovations you have in mind for your bar program and the use of perfume mixology?
The next step would be to recreate the existing crowd-favourite perfumes in the market and replicate those scents as flavours to add to our cocktails. Of course, these new perfumes will also be all-natural, edible and made in-house, like all our current perfumes.
What do you think about the future of perfume mixology in the cocktail industry? Do you think the concept will take over the industry? If it does, how do you plan to evolve with it?
The future of perfume mixology is strong. We don’t have our list of perfumes written on the menu since we plan on evolving these flavours as and when we conduct R&D with new ingredients. This way our guests can also experience different cocktails every month.
We are not the first ones globally to do this concept but we are the first ones to make edible perfumes without any chemicals or any preservatives. Everything is made in-house and is safe to consume.
This is a new concept for the Indian bar scene, and I hope it will also inspire a lot of bartenders to think out of the box.