Many whiskey enthusiasts are extremely knowledgeable about their liquor of choice. Perhaps some can even discern details about a drink’s particular origins simply by tasting it. Now, virtual reality technology is taking whiskey to the next level. With its high-tech ambitions, a new drink at the Lobby Bar at One Aldwych in London is changing the way that we enjoy and appreciate whiskey.
The Lobby Bar has introduced a whiskey cocktail called The Origin. The drink includes a blend of Dalmore 12-Year-Old Whisky, Merlet Soeurs Cerises cherry liqueur, cherry puree and fresh grapefruit juice, with chocolate bitters and Lallier Champagne—plus a complimentary virtual reality experience.
“We don’t say anything on our menu about virtual reality, but we do drop a hint in saying, ‘Take a trip to the Highlands,’” the drink’s creator and the Lobby Bar manager Pedro Paulo tells Condé Nast Traveler. “When someone orders it, we give the guest virtual reality goggles and a headset and explain we are taking [them] to the origin of the drink.”
Basically, the experience goes like this: You order a drink and are given a headset. Unexpectedly, you are transported to a whisky distillery before soaring over a sea of barley fields in the breathtaking Scottish Highlands. The virtual reality experience wraps up by floating you back down to The Lobby Bar. Once you’ve taken off the VR gear, The Origin is waiting for you to take a sip.
Paulo enlisted Dalmore Whisky, a distillery on the shores of the Cromarty Firth in the Scottish Highlands, to collect the stunning imagery. Creating the virtual reality experience required a big production: Paulo also wrote the script, hired directors and organized drone footage to make the content.
“In a finished drink, there are barrels and fields and places that go into making it. Giving this knowledge was my main motivation. It’s an experience beyond the drink, and [guests] will remember it,” says Paulo.
The Origin costs £18 ($23) and has been on the Lobby Bar’s menu for two weeks now. Paulo hopes that his drink experience will open a dialogue about the unique juxtaposition of advanced technology with the simple pleasure of enjoying a drink. As the hospitality industry continues to embrace technology, the art of blending these pleasures could become a worldwide trend. We will likely see hotels find more creative ways to enhance guest experiences.