Experiential Design in a Shot Glass

A technology entrepeneur named Brett Cramer, founder of the Spice Lab, is obsessed with salts.  He buys them by the container-load (I mean those small house-sized shipping containers) from all over the world–Himalayan salts, Hawaiian salts, smoked salts, spicey salts, etc. etc.–and sells them to foodies and gourmets.  If you think salt is just salt, check out The Spice Lab or just look at this rainbow of salts:

Tubes of salts from all over the world.

But is isn’t just the selection of salts that are unique to what Cramer and The Spice Lab are offering, it’s how in some cases they’re designed.  Some of the salts are sold in glass tubes that slot into holes bored into blocks of wood.  Cramer has designed a mixological interface to cooking with various exotic salts from around the world.

himalayan_salt_glassesBut the most striking design in his collection is the tequila shot glass carved from Himalayan salt.  Yes, the glasses are made from solid Himalayan salt, which has a translucent pink marbled appearance similar to rose quartz, owing to its high natural iron content.  This introduces a different phenomenological experience to drinking tequila.  With each shot, you get a bit of Himalayan salt, that with the presence of more than eighty minerals tastes earthier than standard table salt.  The glasses are soluble.  Each time they come into contact with liquid, a small amount of the salt dissolves.  They won’t last nearly as long as glass, and you can’t wash them or put them in the dishwasher like normal glasses.  Instead you lightly rinse and immediately dry them off.  But the salt is naturally anti-bacterial, so only minimal cleaning is required.

The experience is inherently different than the standard rock salt on the rim of the margerita glass.  The taste is different, the texture is different, the way the salt and drink are mixed is different.  These shot glasses invent a new way to consume tequila and salt (and lime).  Cramer has combined materials with consumables with interface in invent a new tequila UX.

UX design is the New Design standard.  Graphic designers, user interface designers, product designers, interior designers, architects, etc. can all take their work to a different level by understanding principles of UX design.  Some of these principles are to make things simple and intuitive.  The Himalayan salt shot glasses are an intuitive and simple way to consume tequila and lime with Himalayan salt,  far simpler than mixing a margerita and grinding the exotic salt, etc. Another principle is to reduce latency; these shot glasses make it faster and easier to have a truly sophisticated and different phenomenological and mixological experience with tequila.  And a third principle is that less is more, meaning everything about the design has a purpose.  The shot glasses hold the drink, deliver the salt to the drink in sufficient amounts to be palatable, and are aesthetically pleasing.