If the views from the 20th floor of the Conrad Chicago aren’t captivating enough, the downtown hotel’s restaurant, Baptiste & Bottle, offers eager Instagrammers a chance to strap on a virtual reality headset as part of a $95 cocktail. The drink, “The Macallan Rare Journey,” is a marketer’s dream designed by Macallan and B&B. The headset’s narration isn’t that different from those branding events Macallan and other scotch companies hold to “educate” drinkers.
The drink itself is simple, using Bodegas Tradicion 30-year Oloroso Sherry and Macallan Rare Cask scotch. The glasses come in a wooden box with moss and vegetation. The set-up represents the forests where Macallan takes wood for its casks. Michael Fawthrop, the Conrad’s beverage director, told Forbes that he wanted to create a memorable experience for guests at the luxury hotel.
After a staffer explains the distilling process to the customer and how rare the drink is, guests strap on the Oculus headset. They’re “transported” to Macallan’s distillery, among other places. While the customer walks around in VR land, staff mixes the drink in the real world with the hope guests can smell sherry and scotch while wearing the goggles. Once the VR session concludes, guests will find their drink ready for them.
VR isn’t a new cocktail ingredient. Earlier this year, a London bar debuted the world’s first “augmented reality cocktail menu.” Baptiste & Bottle uses a video loaded on to a Google Pixel that works with the Oculus. A restaurant rep said they added the cocktail to the menu in mid-July.