Mikenzi Kemp

No.7 Balmac

Buds of Taste




Grapefruit peel


45ml Jim Beam Rye

20ml Mushroom infused Cocchi di Torino Vermouth

4 dashes Angostura Bitters

20ml Salted ruby grapefruit syrup


Stirred down


Let us toast to our taste buds. Where would we be without our taste? Probably dead. Why? In prehistoric times, bitterness signalled to the brain poison. This day in age, without taste buds we could overcompensate on sugar and salt creating potential life-threatening health conditions. So yes, a massive cheers to our good ol’ taste buds.

Without the sensation of taste we would not be able experience the distinguishing sensations of salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami. These five sensations not only give us the sense of taste but they impact on our memory and cognition due to neurogastronomy – how perceived flavour effects our brain, particularly memory and cognition. Like the saltiness of hot potato chips matched with the acidic sweet tomato sauce that triggers the memory of the classic fish ‘n’ chips at the beach on a hot summers day.

So here we have a cocktail that celebrates the magnificent capability of our taste buds with all our five taste sensations in one – salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami.

The hero product used is Jim Beam Rye. Jim Beam Rye has a natural spicy oak characteristic with sweet vanilla nuances, a hint of black pepper, with a subtle soft cherry finish. This overall taste portfolio provides a well-structured balanced base. A mushroom infused vermouth has been crafted using Cocchi di Torino Vermouth to add complexity and structure to the drink. The deep rich body harmonises with the Portobello and Swiss Brown mushrooms. Portobello mushrooms provide an earthy flavour that offers more body to the drink, while the Swiss Brown complements with a subtle nutty flavour. The umami and herbal flavours seamlessly integrate together creating a harmonising duo.

The salted ruby grapefruit syrup adds freshness to the drink. The syrup’s salty sour bite balances out the sweetness of and matches well with the spiciness of the Jim Beam Rye, while pronouncing the aromas and components of the Vermouth. The Angostura Bitters’ baking spice characteristics is the bridge between the tastes and flavours. It unifies the spicy sweet Rye notes with the umami earthy Vermouth, and the salty sourness of the grapefruit syrup.

So raise a glass to our good ol’ buds of taste, because without them who knows where we would be?

World Bartender Day at No.7 Balmac

No.7 Balmac

From the 10th of February until the 27th, the “Buds of Taste” cocktail will be printed and available from our restaurant Cocktail list at No7 Balmac Restaurant in Dunedin.