Cocktails Paired with Scented Candles Equal a Festive Evening
A scent, when paired properly with a complementing flavor, may have the ability to enhance its taste.

Scientists believe the way food or drink tastes is affected by its aroma as well as the scents that surround it.

Sensory scientist at the University of California Hildegarde Heymann explained to Al Jazeera that “much of what we perceive about food is actually smell and not taste. We refer what we smell to our tongues, and that situation happens and we think we’re tasting it, but we’re actually smelling it.”

French chemists have been putting this science into practice, reports Smithsonian Magazine, and have been using the sense of smell to trick the brain into making low fat and low sodium food—or other undesirable dishes—taste better. They’ve developed a device that insulates the aromatic molecules associated with favorite flavors. They've discovered that a scent, when paired properly with a complementing flavor, may have the ability to enhance its flavor.

Jo Malone candles

We tested this theory at the recent Town&Country Atelier. At its Candles and Cocktails affair, we experienced how candles can improve the flavors of food and drink. As the scents of dozens of Jo Malone London candles wafted around the atelier at 8 Rockwell, guests sipped on craft cocktails by Apotheke and nibbled on treats at a "Grace-ing table" by Taste by Grace Home Manila. Each of the three special cocktails that night was inspired by, and complemented a Jo Malone London scent. We learned these important entertaining tricks in pairing cocktails and scents.

The general rule is to create a drink with the same flavors as a scent’s notes.

If you’re sipping on Rosé, then light up a Rosé-scented candle. It’s as simple as that. There might not be a scented candle to go with every cocktail but there are similar flavors. For a floral-scented candle, incorporate floral elements into your libation. The trick is to remember that the scent and the flavor have to blend together, and never contrast.


Start the evening with citrus scents and a refreshing cocktail.

For a tropical-themed cocktail, the bartenders at Apotheke created a drink called Island Fever, a citrusy cocktail that played on the scent of fresh herbs and a twist of citrus from Jo Malone’s Lime, Basil, and Mandarin candle. The refreshing drink mixed the aged flavor of Plantation Rum 3 Stars, Mandarin Syrup, and the distinct bitterness of Rinomato. Similar to the candle, the cocktail muddled lime basil leaves and added a touch of fresh lime into its mix.

Experiment with ingredients you’ve never used before.

While Pisco, a brandy made with grapes and considered the pride of Peru, is not as popular as other brandies, its grassy notes with hints of pepper reflect the rugged Wood Sage & Sea Salt scent. The Sage Pisco Sour used Pisco Porton Mosto Verde and partnered it with sage syrup, a touch of Scrappy’s bitters and a pinch of sea salt to perfectly mimic that of the Jo Malone scent.

Candles and cocktails: Mimosa & Cardamom with the Oriental Spice Mimosa, Wood Sage & Sea Salt with Sage Pisco Sour, and Lime, Basil & Mandarin with Island Fever.

Elevate a classic cocktail by adding a source of spice.

The scent team members at Jo Malone London were onto something when they created the Mimosa & Cardamom scent. To replicate this in cocktail form, Apotheke combined Ophir Gin, which on its own boasts Oriental flavors, with a touch of Scrappy’s cardamom bitters with a standard mimosa. Perfection.

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Hannah Lazatin
Senior Staff Writer
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