Rhythm and alcohol form a top-ranking duo, study finds – and Hong Kong wine experts agree


Can listening to the right music inspire you to enjoy your evening more? According to a study by the psychology team at Heriot-Watt University, happy hour tunes To do have an effect on your enjoyment of that taxi (just like, shall we say, the price of happy hour!).

Brian Keyser at Casellula might try “upbeat music to push the Riesling!” Photo: Rob Hansen

W42ST conducted its own, slightly more informal research study by talking to Hell’s Kitchen restaurateurs and wine store owners to see if they noticed a correlation between their playlists and their customers’ drink choices.

Robert Guarino, co-owner of French brasserie Marseille, 5 Napkin Burger and Italy’s favorite Nizza, said: “I’m not surprised that this study has shown the dramatic impact of music on our appreciation of wine. Good food and good wine are such transformative experiences precisely because they engage our five senses. And of course, food and wine are best enjoyed in the rich atmosphere of a beautiful restaurant with great music. There’s nowhere I’d rather be than in Marseille eating oysters, drinking Muscadet and listening to Serge Gainsbourg. All three are great on their own, but together truly magical!”

You will find Robert Guarino (on the right) “in Marseille eating oysters, drinking muscadet and listening to Serge Gainsbourg”. Photo: Cheyenne Cohen

But while it’s been agreed that music is key to maintaining the mood of the drink, does it correlate with the type of wine or liquor ordered? “Having not conducted the exercise myself, it felt very specific,” said Hell’s Kitchen mainstay Jeremy Kaplan of Veritas Studio Wines. At Veritas, they organize their playlists beyond the usual jazz expectations of wine merchants: “We will choose music that will surprise customers – we will play Bollywood or Norteña or WuTang, whatever it is, it’s a surprise. We had a customer say, “This is the first time I’ve heard the Sex Pistols in a wine store. We don’t sell standard fare, and the music tends to line up with that,” said Kaplan said “We want to play music that makes people feel good – retro rap, retro rock, we play music that relaxes people and gives them space to navigate. It’s up to everyone.” its taste, just like wine.

Several of our respondents noticed strong correlations between time of day and weather with beverage choices. “It’s something we don’t really think about in restaurants, except you’ll hear music at a certain time of day and you’ll be like, ‘This isn’t the right music right now,'” said Charlie Marshall. from farm-to-table restaurant The Marshal. “We want Ella Fitzgerald for brunch because she’s uplifting and kinda laid back and that’s what brunch is. At dinner you want something a little more alternative and background – that song you think you’ve heard a thousand times, but really haven’t heard, so you can’t sing along to it, but it’s fits perfectly,” he added.

Charlie Marshall at the Marshal doesn’t associate wines with “I’m going to put some Beethoven!”, yet… Photo: Phil O’Brien

“I noticed that the study talked about the loudness of the music that makes people drink cabernet, which I can definitely see, but in all honesty, I never say to myself, ‘I bring that glass of wine at table 10 and I really hope they like it. he laughed.

Marshall and Brian Keyser of wine and cheese bar Casellula agreed that seasonality is a priority for customers choosing a drink. “When it’s cold and it’s raining or snowing, people drink hot cocktails, red wine, Scotch and whiskey,” Marshall said.

“When the weather is nice and warm, people drink champagne and white wine and Aperols and fruity cocktails – it’s always more a matter of time,” he added.

Keyser agreed: “Maybe that’s something to keep in mind depending on the season – louder, more powerful music in the winter when more people are drinking red, and faster music in the summer when the white is the most popular choice, to bring the most enjoyment to the most people.”

He added: “I’ve always said that if you choose a cheese you like and a wine you like and you listen to music you like, you’ll be happy with it all. This research is going to make me reconsider that. I wonder if I could stir up particular wines by playing music that matches them – upbeat music to push the Riesling?

Jeremy Kaplan, owner of Veritas Studio Wines, says they curate their playlists “beyond the usual jazz expectations of wine merchants” Photo: Phil O’Brien

Nor was Mandy Oser of Ardesia Wine Bar surprised by the effect of music on drinking. “When I first read it, my instinct was, ‘Oh, that just makes sense.’ I think music definitely influences mood and therefore must influence behavior and consumption,” she said. “I think in our environment, one thing we’ve always done is to empower the staff who work to set the tone and infuse his personal style into the music. We have a late night playlist, a closing playlist and a Friday night playlist and I think that absolutely influences the tone of the evening. It’s about atmosphere and creating a mood and making it a place where people want to hang out. So I think the background of that, of course, music is connected to consumption, everything is connected.

Dare added that for Ardesia, visual marketing is equally important in customer drink orders, noting, “For us and for a lot of people right now – social media, especially Instagram, is probably the first where we will see a correlation between what we advertise and what people order. If we release something new, we’ll often have regulars who come in and say, “Hey, I saw that – me and now I’m really curious about that new wine you mentioned on Instagram”, that’s almost shocking to me how strong that specific connection can be,” she said, even remarking on the power of visual influence on her own drinking habits. “I think about my own behavior — ​​I’ll see something online first and it’ll get me somewhere. I think making things visual, especially with wine, makes things digestible and accessible, which are always our keywords.

In the Heriot-Watt study, 250 adults were given a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay to enjoy in one of five rooms playing different genres of music (or no music at all) on a continuous loop. After being asked to sip their vino sans conversation, study participants defined the taste profile of their wine.

Researchers led by Dr. Adrian C North found that respondents’ tasting notes changed by up to 60% depending on the tune played while sipping. The effects of musical accompaniment were stronger on red wines than on white wines, with powerful and intense melodies prompting users to describe the wine as more powerful and intense, and bubbly and refreshing music motivating drinkers to identify their white wines as pungent and refreshing analogues.

Ardesia’s Mandy Oser wonders “how many glasses did they have when we had our 80s playlist?” Photo :: Phil O’Brien

After reading the study, Dare and several local owners were ready to conduct their own research. “I feel like it will be fun to experiment,” said Dare. “I like the correlation between heavier music and Cabernet consumption. Maybe we don’t specifically program all of our music to try to make sure everyone has Cabernet all the time, but I think it would be fun to experiment.

She continued, “How many drinks did they have on Tuesday when we were playing jazz? How many drinks did they have when we had our 80s playlist? old school soul a lot, and other nights it’s super pop, like Miley Cyrus and that kind of stuff. Does it make people want to drink rosé? to have a cosmos? I think all of this reinforces the importance of continuing to create an atmosphere.


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