The Spirit of Cocktails: On the Conceptual Structure of Cocktail Recipes

  • Davide Serpico Department of Classics, Philosophy and History, University of Genoa
  • M. Cristina Amoretti Department of Classics, Philosophy and History, University of Genoa
  • Marcello Frixione Department of Classics, Philosophy and History, University of Genoa
Keywords: Cocktails, Recipes, Concepts representation, Prototypical effects

Abstract

In this paper, we discuss the conceptual structure of cocktail recipes. This topic involves engaging questions for philosophers and food theorists due to some peculiar characteristics of cocktail recipes, such as the fact that they are standardised by international associations but, nonetheless, vagueness in some elements of the recipes introduces a degree of variability between cocktails of the same type. Our proposal is that a classical theory of concepts is unable to account for such peculiar features. Thus, only a hybrid theoretical approach, combining definitional and prototypical aspects, can capture how cocktail recipes are usually conceptualised among bartenders and mixologists: while the spirit is usually a necessary (though not sufficient) condition for establishing whether an individual cocktail falls under a specific cocktail concept, all the other ingredients and procedures listed in recipes may vary to a certain extent. In order to assess whether variability in prototypical elements of cocktail recipes has any limitations, we exploit the notion of conceptual scheme applied to cocktail recipes and argue that, as long as the quality dimensions of a specific cocktail are respected, its identity remains unchanged regardless of changes in the ingredients or in its preparation.

Published
2020-12-22
How to Cite
Serpico, D., Amoretti, M., & Frixione, M. (2020). The Spirit of Cocktails: On the Conceptual Structure of Cocktail Recipes. HUMANA.MENTE Journal of Philosophical Studies, 13(38), 37-59. Retrieved from http://www.humanamente.eu/index.php/HM/article/view/325