Can You Smell ALL the Smell out of Something?
Alice & the Magician Cocktail Apothecary
by Lindsey Carter
1y ago
“DON’T TAKE ALL OF THE SMELL!” is often exclaimed during our free Aromatic Tastings at the Aroma Lab. It happens as each tasting group passes around little cups containing invisible clouds of the scent molecules that make up Aromas such as freshly cut Cilantro or warm Chocolate Birthday Cake. Inevitably, this exclamation is followed by the question: Wait, can you even smell up an entire smell? What is a Smell and How Does it Travel? First, a smell is created when a substance releases volatile (able to vaporize) molecules light enough to be lifted and carried through the air. To find out what ..read more
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A Novel (Cocktail) Chemistry
Alice & the Magician Cocktail Apothecary
by Lindsey Carter
1y ago
What happens when you add a rather unappealing ingredient (lets be honest, no one drinks Tonic by itself) to a very pleasant ingredient? Normally, the gross becomes a little better and the delicious becomes a little gross. One exception to this rule is Gin and Tonic.  At its base, tonic is a less than exceptional mixture of carbonated water, quinine and sugar. Most people do not feel inclined to sip on this beverage on its own. In fact, Gin & Tonics got their start by keeping the British Empire healthy during the nineteenth century when officers st ..read more
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Smell Vocabulary: What's in a Name?
Alice & the Magician Cocktail Apothecary
by Lindsey Carter
1y ago
Can You Name That Smell? Probably Not… If you put a glass of milk, Jasmine flowers and a cotton ball in front of an English speaking audience and ask them what those objects all have in common, the majority will point out that the objects share the same “white” color. If you put bat droppings, petrol and the leaf of ginger root in front of that same audience asking the same question, you’ll find them stumbling to identify the common ground. Interestingly, if you conduct this survey with speakers of Jahai, a language found in Malaysia, they would confidently answer that objects in the latter se ..read more
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How Do We Agree that a Smell, Smells Good?
Alice & the Magician Cocktail Apothecary
by Lindsey Carter
1y ago
The smell of pavement cooling just after a summer rain, the heavy fragrance of freshly cut grass, the warm waft of baking bread, the soft clean breeze of laundry drying on the line … While these aromas are highly specific and even seasonal, they are some of the more commonly cited favorites we hear about and are even asked to custom-create by visitors to Alice & the Magician’s tasting bar. In a world spanning numerous environmental landscapes, cultures and climates, how is it possible for more than two people to agree that something smells good or bad? Are specific scents pre-determined a ..read more
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Digging Deeper into Ginger
Alice & the Magician Cocktail Apothecary
by Lindsey Carter
1y ago
This Wild, Old Rhizome...  Its origin is rumored to have sprouted over 4,000 years ago from the lush tropical jungles of Southern Asia. As far back as 500 BC the great Chinese philosopher Confucius insisted this herbaceous spice be present on the table at his every meal, like today’s salt and pepper shakers. Highly valued for its medicinal merits during the Middle Ages, just one pound of it was worth 1 shilling and 7 pence, approximately equivalent to the price of a sheep. Sometime in the nineteenth century, Irish barkeeps started putting out small bowls of ground ginger for patrons to sp ..read more
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The Two Gateways to Flavor
Alice & the Magician Cocktail Apothecary
by Lindsey Carter
1y ago
An Apple is an Apple, a Potato is a Potato, and you have 2 Smell Systems to Tell You So… Many of us can recall the thrill brought on by a certain grade-school science experiment involving nose plugs, a blindfold, raw apples and raw potatoes. If this doesn’t sound familiar (Spoiler Alert): by plugging your nose and blindfolding your eyes, your ability to detect the difference between a bite of an apple and a bite of potato weakens extravagantly. Extravagantly, but not entirely. Luckily, your brain’s system of distinguishing flavor is not so flimsy as two nostrils. In fact, you are capable of ex ..read more
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Ingredient Highlight: the Jewel of Winter
Alice & the Magician Cocktail Apothecary
by Lindsey Carter
1y ago
From the Promised Land to the epics of Greek and Persian myth, history and romance settle around this sweet-tart fruit like a fragrance. It’s been painted by Raphael and Cezanne and mused upon by Shakespeare and Ferdosi. With a legendary status that dates as far back as agriculture itself, the pomegranate has seemingly found a way to be indispensable all the way into the present. Of course, our favorite handling of the pomegranate’s botanical powers stems from the moment a time-forgotten genius peered under the berry’s leathery skin and found inspiration. After scooping out hundreds of ruby-li ..read more
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FRESH 2017:
Alice & the Magician Cocktail Apothecary
by aaron wisniewski
1y ago
  NEW INGREDIENTS, TECHNIQUES & RECIPES FROM VERMONT'S PREMIER BAR INNOVATORS Mad River Distillers Burlington, Barr Hill by Caledonia Spirits, and Alice & the Magician joined up to bring you Fresh: Ideas and Ingredients Behind the Bar for 2017! We have asked some of our best friends, favorite bartenders, and all around spirit savvy folks what they look forward to seeing more of in cocktail culture through the year of 2017. What methods, techniques, flavors and tricks currently make Vermont bartenders tick? Using the inspiration of these bars and bartenders we have creat ..read more
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A magical evening of cocktails at the Boston Public Library
Alice & the Magician Cocktail Apothecary
by aaron wisniewski
1y ago
This weekend we were invited to the Boston Public Library to introduce our philosophy and Aromatics to the Leading Caterers of America.  Our time began with an engaging workshop about the connection between scent and memory. The ability to bring up memories and emotions through scent is an incredibly important and often overlooked aspect in the world of events and we loved sharing some of our experiences and the science behind aroma with a great group. At the end of the day, everyone gathered for food and cocktails and we opened our Traveling Cocktail Apothecary to create ar ..read more
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Cinnamon Uncovered
Alice & the Magician Cocktail Apothecary
by aaron wisniewski
1y ago
Cinnamon is harvested by giant birds in their nests on sheer cliffs that are inaccessible to people. The technique is to take large pieces of meat (especially ox meat) and place them near the nests and leave. The birds will bring the meat to their nests until they get so heavy, that the nest falls allowing the cinnamon to be harvested. At least that is one of the stories the Arabian Spice Traders told to keep other's from attempting to find their own source for this amazing and aromatic spice as well as justify its price.  Cinnamon has been a prominent and extremely valuable spice fo ..read more
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