Molecular Mixology and Tales
April first has come and gone, and now that everyone has played their pranks, I feel it is time to offer an announcement: Tales of the Cocktail is back! That’s right, tickets went on sale as of yesterday, but due to the antics of the day, I felt that it might be better that I let you know on another date, just in case you thought that I was pulling your leg.
This year has a fantastic lineup as always, with the added bonus(?) of yours truly taking part in a number of seminars.
First off will be the seminar that I will be moderating: Intro to Molecular Mixology. I have been truly blessed with having some of the best (if not the best) practitioners of this stream of bartending joining me. Eben Freeman, Eben Klemm and Claire Smith have all been gracious enough to give me a hand with the seminar (and probably straighten me out when I steer wrong) as well as showcase some wild drinks. This will be a fun seminar indeed, with the journey starting us out with the basics (like foams, airs and dusts) and leading us off into the twisted imaginations of the world’s best.
The other panels I will be taking part in are Paul Clarke’s Homemade Ingredients seminar and Darcy O’Neils Sensory Perception seminar. As I’ve mentioned before, this five day New Orleans line-up is jam packed with interesting topics led by even more interesting people, so stop reading this crap and click here to sign up for this year’s festivities!
On another note, as some of you may know, I write a Molecular Mixology (MM) column for a European bar magazine. This month’s theme was the martini, and I was given the task of trying to update this age-old cocktail using MM techniques. As much as I hate to mess around with that most venerable of recipes, I acquiesced, and given the timing of the sale of tickets to Tales, and thereby my seminar on MM, I’ve decided to share the recipe with you, so you can get a feel of the subject matter that we will be discussing in New Orleans.
When using techniques that usually fall under the heading of Molecular Mixology, I like to surprise the imbiber by adding textures or flavors that they wouldn’t expect, but still keep the resulting product recognizable as a drink. Every once in a while, however, I like to throw my guests a complete curveball and give them an experience that they would never have expected. This is the case of my Martini Sorbet.
As most people know, spirits don’t freeze. So it comes as a quite a surprise to most people when I tell them that I can make a sorbet out of a martini. The key, unbeknownst to them, is agar and xantham gum. A touch of agar to help solidify and a dash of xantham gum for elasticity and texture and the next thing you know, your martini is able to freeze to the consistency of a beautiful sorbet. And yes, it tastes just like a martini, alcohol burn and all.
One will notice that the proportions of my “martini” are quite high at 1:1. But do not fear, for after you’ve dissolved the agar, you are now left with a more reasonable martini ratio of 2:1, and a lovely dessert to boot!
8 oz vermouth
1 tsp agar
8 oz gin
¼ teaspoon xantham gum
place vermouth and agar in a pot on high heat
stir until all of the agar has dissolved
take off of heat
add gin and xantham gum and stir until completely dissolved
place in freezer until frozen with the texture of a sorbet
open and wash a jar of black olives
push olive puree through a chinois to make olive water
take 8 oz of olive “water” and place in a pot on medium heat
add 2 ½ sheets of bloomed gelatin and dissolve
immediately remove from heat and refrigerate
place mixture into a squeeze bottle
place a container of vegetable oil in a freezer until almost frozen
squeeze droplets of olive mixture from the squeeze bottle into the almost frozen oil
when enough “caviar” is made, strain out of oil and rinse off with water
place a small spoonful of olive “caviar” onto two scoops of Martini Sorbet
serve with spoon
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