Traveling on planes can quickly become stressful, no matter you try to do to avoid it. Sometimes, situations arise that are just not in your control, including time delays, rude people, and terrible food choices. Therefore, it makes sense that you might want to ease the stress with a cocktail once you’ve finally made it onto the plane.
Once you get settled into your seat, you might be tempted to get a nice drink to help you unwind after going through security, checking in, and waiting at the gate.
Next comes the question of what you should get. Should you get a red wine, beer, or a true cocktail? We would suggest ordering a Bloody Mary, since it has been found to actually taste better while you’re 30,000 feet in the air.
A 2016 Cornell University study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance found that tomato juice, which is the main component of a Bloody Mary, tastes better high up in the air.
This is because of the noise level on the plane, which actually changes humans’ perception of taste. Weird, right?
The researchers observed 48 participants sampling a variety of tomato juices with varying flavor profiles that ranged from sweet, bitter to salty. As the participants tasted the juices, the researchers turned up the noise levels and then had the participants rate the intensity of each of the juices’ flavors.
The team found that as noise levels increased, it became more difficult for the participants to be able to detect sweetness. Savory flavors, also called “umami,” were still able to be detected by the participants.
Robin Dando, assistant professor of food science at Cornell shared: “Our study confirmed that in an environment of loud noise, our sense of taste is compromised. Interestingly, this was specific to sweet and umami tastes, with sweet taste inhibited and umami taste significantly enhanced. The multi-sensory properties of the environment where we consume our food can alter our perception of the foods we eat.”