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Cocktail Theory - Book by Dr. Kevin Peterson, Sfumato Co-Owner

Cocktail Theory - Book by Dr. Kevin Peterson, Sfumato Co-Owner

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Dr. Kevin Peterson, co-founder of Sfumato, explores cocktails from the perspectives of an engineer, a perfumer, and a bar owner. Cocktail Theory - A Sensory Approach to Transcendent Drinks is a detailed look at the theory and philosophy behind the Detroit cocktail bar, Castalia, that operates as a Sfumato's brick and mortar by day, but by night transforms to serve scent-paired drinks.

Using data visualization and experimental results, Kevin makes a case for breaking cocktails into their individual sensory components, optimizing each aspect, then putting the pieces back together for an ideal drink. Cocktail Theory is approachable for home bartenders and professionals alike.

Flavor principles are accompanied by recipes that have graced Castalia’s menus, along with practical tips for executing elevated drinks at home. Cocktails are placed in the context of a larger experience, and supported by exercises to improve your palate, allowing you to transcend recipes and understand why certain drinks work, or not.

Castalia has been featured in the New York Times, Imbibe, Vinepair, and the Wall Street Journal, and Cocktail Theory is an in-depth look at what makes scented cocktails work.

(From Kevin) If a book about how to create scent-paired cocktails existed, I just would have read it, like I’ve read literally hundreds of other books about cocktails. If there was a single, concise source for integrating knowledge about the sensory system into creating optimal flavors, I would own it. But as I was working on creating peak experiences at Castalia, I kept bumping up against questions I couldn't find answers for. Or answers I had to search so meticulously for that it consumed me. So, just as I did when I was an engineer, I started designing experiments, sought out expertise, and analyzed a massive amount of data to build a conceptual model that describes the perfect drink.  And after almost 4 years, countless hours, and as much coffee as cocktails, I've captured that work in a book.

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