NI Science Festival: Synaesthesia Cocktails

Until last week I had never heard of the term ‘synaesthesia’ (or should I say I had never heard of the condition ‘synaesthesia’, as I now know it is.)

It wasn’t until I was invited to a event mixing science with cocktails that I became very intrigued! As you may be aware, the NI Science Festival is currently taking place (18th-28th February) with a series of events all over Northern Ireland celebrating science, technology, engineering and maths.

One such event was called Synaesthesia Cocktails and took place at the Black Box on Saturday. The aim of the event was to assess if we can really taste colour and to see how astute our senses are.

Synaesthesia is a condition in which one sense automatically leads to an experience in a second sense. For example, someone with the condition would always see letters, numbers or sounds as one particular colour. (i.e.a dog barking might always trigger the colour mint green)

The idea of the event was to see when the crowd tasted the cocktails, what colour did we all sense?  On Saturday my friend Eileen and I went along to the Black Box ready to experience the science behind cocktail tasting!

We were each given seven shots of cocktail, with all clues about colours and ingredients removed. Upon tasting them we then had to go to one of the computers and input a colour.

Every fifteen minutes or so we got a new shot and to be honest, myself and Eileen were pretty hopeless! All we sensed was brown (or a variation of brown!) every time! I think it was because all the shots were a brown-y colour!

In between the drinking, we heard from a real life synaesthete who told us about what she experiences,  including months and numbers all having their own area of space in front of her! It really was very interesting to hear more about the condition and there were loads of questions from the crowd.

At the end of the night, the results were revealed- which colours did most people associate with the drinks? There were various colours such as reds, blues, yellows….so errr, not everyone experienced brown like us!

A great night but it’s fair to say I don’t have the condition- thanks to the NI Science Festival for the invite!

Really to taste the shots of cocktail

Crowds at the Black Box

What colour do you taste?  


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