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!

MARTINI SORBET
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

OLIVE CAVIAR
open and wash a jar of black olives
puree 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

TO SERVE
place a small spoonful of olive “caviar” onto two scoops of Martini Sorbet
serve with spoon

Pictures and drink by:
Jamie Boudreau

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~ by Jamie Boudreau on April 2, 2008.

27 Responses to “Molecular Mixology and Tales”

  1. Your MM cocktail are simply magic !!

  2. This is brilliant! Could this be generalized across liquors? I’m not a martini fellow, but a Manhattan sorbet could be awesome…

  3. AK:
    I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work….

  4. [...] Jamie Boudreau has some interesting cocktail recipes to employ on the molecular mixology front. Martini Sorbet [...]

  5. [...] Jamie Boudreau has some interesting cocktail recipes to employ on the molecular mixology front. [...]

  6. I’d be curious as to how many of your readers are going to Tales…I’ll be there with a client (Pernod) and plan on attending the molecular mixology seminar and hearing your thoughts live.

  7. [...] Jamie Boudreau has some interesting cocktail recipes to employ on the molecular mixology front. [...]

  8. Beautiful photograph.

  9. [...] of a flavor via lazer or even a sorbet that tastes like your favorite cocktail! I found this blog (spiritsandcocktails) in particular to be very informative. After further researching, I have been tempted with smuggling [...]

  10. I tried this with a Manhattan, and it works and it’s delicious! The only problem I ran into was getting the xanthan gum to dissolve. I whisked the bejeezus out of the mixture but in the end I still had small white particles suspended in the cooling gel. I can’t strain them out; any suggestions?

  11. Bear:
    I place the xantham gum in a fine strainer and slowly incorporate the powder by tapping the strainer against the pot as I stir. Low heat also helps to integrate the gum.

  12. Soooooooo when is your nex class ..would like to go, but don’t want to wait till april…

  13. Tony:
    The next class will be on November the 3rd. All you have to do is get yourself to Prague and join their bartender’s guild to participate.
    I look forward to seeing you there! ;-)

  14. [...] Gin and Tonic Martini Sorbet Champagne Lava Lamp Rubicon (This one involves setting the drink on [...]

  15. Jamie,

    You called the olives you used ‘black’, which makes me think of the ones I would gobble up as a kid on holiday party platters, next to the gerkins. The flavor was very much like the tin can which they came from. Unless, of course, you speak of Kalamata, or nicoise. Have you tried a more pungent, briny, “cocktail” olive, of the green variety?

    I prefer mine with a swath of lemon, but one making a classic martini with olive garnish, do you typically use the black variety?

  16. Jamie,

    more questions: I gave this a try the other night and ended up with something far more resembling Jell-o than sorbet. It took quite a bit of boiling with both the Agar and the xantham to get the solids to dissolve. Should I have been more gentle with my heat? scale back on the agar? scale up on the xantham gum? thanks.

  17. Ian:
    you might need a different type of agar. the xantham gum should dissolve with little issue. If it is too solid, scale back on agar.

  18. [...] Molecular Martini by Jamie Boudreau [...]

  19. Hi Jamie.
    Very cool. But could you substitute the olive water for something like lime juice? and when you say “place a container of vegetable oil in a freezer until almost frozen” how long would that be? overnight?

    Thanks a lot

  20. Dan:
    subbing is possible, but something like lime juice, with its high acidity will definitely cause you to adjust the recipe.
    How long until almost frozen? Well that depends upon the container it is in, the amount made and the temperature of your freezer…

  21. m8 How do you get caviar so clear, i pureed olives today and what i got was very cloudy even after leaving it in the fridge for some time. Did you tried making this caviar with algine and calcium?

  22. Danijel:
    The olive caviar is not meant to be clear. It is meant to be black, as in the picture. After pureeing I pushed it through an ultra-fine sieve. If you have access to alginates and calcium, it is indeed much easier to do. This was an experiment to see what one can do with ingredients from a local grocery store.

  23. Hi Jamie,
    do you not think there is a massive way to go with molecular mixology… for me… it’s all just desserts. I also work in a top cocktail bar, and have a few drinks, but so much seems to just be turning drinks into food. gels, sorbets, foams, its all chewable! For me mixology is a long way behind the molecular gastronomy. trust me, I know its hard, surely you agree?

  24. Dave:
    MM does have a huge way to go regarding cocktails. Unfortunately people (such as myself) are mainly using food techniques on liquids at this time. Having said that though, I believe that the applications towards liquids are much more limited that towards foods/solids and this is why MM in bars will never really take off, but will only show up at the odd bar or as a one off item on other bars. Most “molecular mixology” occurs at the point when one creates the liquids that they we use to mix with. ;-)

  25. the best cocktail in the world…

  26. i need to know, where does that martini glass come from?

  27. mikey:
    it’s an antique

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