If you thought virtual reality was just a way for the upper-classes to go all out on video games, you weren’t thinking quite as big as the One Aldwych hotel in London, England. The posh hotel bar recently started serving up virtual reality cocktails, a futuristic fusion of tech and booze. But what the heck is it? By the name of it you’d guess that, like other virtual reality experiences, the VR would make it seem like you’re drinking a cocktail when really you’re just sitting around in a hotel bar. But never fear: the drink is real, but the experience of sipping it down is enhanced by the technology.
According to CNN, one of One Aldwych’s virtual reality cocktail, called Origin, is a whisky-based “crowd pleaser” mixed with cherry liqueur, cherry puree, grapefruit juice, chocolate bitters and champagne. This is but one VR cocktail on the hotels “Showtime menu,” which includes drinks and virtual reality experiences from comedy and satire to musicals. Before drinking one of the meticulously crafted drinks, customers are taken (virtually, of course) to a universe that compliments their drink.
For the Origin, customers are taken on a virtual tour of the Scottish highlands to show how the whisky in the drink was made, offering a visually pleasant experience along with some booze knowledge. Given that the drink itself is real, and the VR experience comes before you drink the cocktail, it’s a bit of marketing trick to say the drink itself is part of the virtual reality, when really it's more like "cocktails and a show."
The cocktails aren't cheap, though. CNN reports that the Origin will set you back $23. Other drinks, such as the One Fashioned, are prepared for the customer tableside from a traditional cocktail trolley, adding a bit of a real life show into the mix of virtual entertainment. And since One Aldwych is located in London’s theater district, there’s no shortage of other shows to enjoy after you’ve gotten your high-tech buzz on.