This Cocktail Actually Alters Your Tastebuds (And Makes You a Supertaster)

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The Verbena, garnished with a Sichuan flower.

First, your salivary glands activate. Then your tongue begins to tingle. That tingle turns to a prickle, and suddenly your whole mouth is numb. An icy sip of verbena scented margarita accentuates the experience.

No your drink was not laced with Icy-Hot, this situation in your mouth is actually part of the Verbena experience. Concocted by Mariena Mercer, lead mixologist at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, the Verbena cocktail is a lemon verbena and ginger infused margarita garnished with a Sichuan flower. Order the drink, and your bartender will instruct you to eat the flower first. Sometimes called a “buzz button, Mercer says the garnish “speeds up all your salivary glands and makes you what’s called a super taster.” The active ingredient is an alkaloid called spilanthol which is the catalyst telling your salivary glands to spring forth. The result? “Like standing under a waterfall,” said Good Food’s Evan Kleiman.

You can try the Verbena at the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan. While the cocktail is no longer listed on the menu, it remains the best selling drink on the property.

While you’re there don’t miss Mercer’s other concoctions like boozey dippin dots at the poolside Neapolitan bar and flirty bottled cocktails at Bond. Mercer and her team make all of the syrups, bitters and infusions in house in the hotel’s dedicated cocktail kitchen.