Molecular Mixology is becoming more and more popular, with trendy bars embracing these unique and adventurous libations. Inspired by molecular gastronomy, drinks come out with interesting flavor combinations, textures, and shapes, pushing the envelope of what would be considered traditional bar fare.
There are many different techniques used to create these adult treats. Sometimes molecular mixology requires an investment in expensive devices such as Vacuum Chamber Infusers used to infuse alcohol with other ingredients such as herbs or spices, Rotary Evaporators which extract the essential oils from ingredients so that they can be mixed into cocktails or other foods, or Hot Infusion Siphons which use heat to complete the infusion process resulting in tasty hot cocktails.
Other techniques require chemical compounds to produce the desired effect. Some molecular mixologists use liquid nitrogen (dry ice) to make slushy cocktails with a bit of tableside flair. If you want to check this out in action head over to TAPS in Orange County and get the “50/50 Bar”. It’s made tableside with liquid nitrogen and doesn’t disappoint. Xanthan Gum can be used to thicken liquids allowing for a layering effect or even suspending small pieces of fruit or herbs in a beverage. Calcium Chloride can be used to create small pearls from liquid which end up looking like caviar, allowing them to stand on their own or float in another liquid. Venture to Beverly Hills and try out The Bazaar for molecular mixology using these techniques and more!
If you’re looking to partake in some at-home molecular mixology you don’t have to be a chemist! Take your Jell-O shots to the next level and use gelatin to create some interesting treats. Deconstruct mixed cocktails and layer them with gelatin instead for a fun and different presentation. Or, put fruit into your gelatin shots for a flavorful surprise. You can also freeze juice or other mixers like bloody mary mix into ice cubes and then pour your alcohol over them, allowing the cubes to slowly melt and mix your drink. This also prevents the drink from becoming watered down. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can use a more affordable version of infusion. Blanch your ingredients first and then let them sit in your spirits overnight, or try your hand with a whipped cream vacuum chamber to create infused topping and foam.
Here are some links to recipes for the at-home mixologist!
Forbes – How-To: Do-It-Yourself Chemical Cocktails
Bionicbites.com – Blueberry Martini Jello Shots
Molecular Recipes – Pisco Sour Cocktail Marshmallow
Huffington Post – These Boozy Popsicle Recipes Are Even Better Than Cocktails
However you decide to indulge, please remember to enjoy responsibly.