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Cocktail Powders


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11 replies to this topic

#1 donbert

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 11:02 AM

The folks over at the DrinkBoy forum have been discussing dehydrating various liquors and bitters and grinding them down to make powders to rim glasses. Damon Dyer (bartender at Jack the Horse in Brooklyn, NY) has successfully made Campari powder in the oven for a drink he's doing at his bar but was complaining about the time and effort it takes. After throwing out obvious solution that would require specialized equipment like a lyophilizer, vacuum evaporator, or rotory evaporator I remembered that Thomas Keller suggests using the microwave for making vegetable dusts for garnishing in the French Laundry Cookbook.

As a proof of concept we tried evaporating 1/2 a cup of Campari in the microwave. It took about 6 minutes but then we weren't able to get the result off the pyrex bowl without potentially breaking the bowl. On the second attempt after 4 minutes we poured out the liquid onto a silpat pressed into a larger bowl which resulted in this:

Posted Image

Once ground down Damon verified that the taste and texture were identical to what he was doing in the oven in 6 hours:

Posted Image

A look in On Food and Cooking revealed a few more considerations:

When we dissolve sugar or salt in water the boiling point of the solution becomes higher than the boiling point of pure water. This increase in the boiling point depends predictably on the amount of material dissolved... so the boiling point of a solution is an indicator of the concentration of the dissolved material. ... sugar syrup that boils at 250F/125C is about 90% sugar by weight ... at 300f/149C and above, nearing 100%


as the sugar concentration passes 80% [240F/116C], there's so little water left that both the temperature of the syrup and its boiling point rise more rapidly. As the concentration approaches 100% , the temperature rises very fast, and can over shoot the desired range and brown or scorch the sugar.


Above 330F/165C, the sugar syrup is more than 99% sucrose. It no longer boils but begins to break down and caramelize.


Based on this and more experimentation I have a more streamlined process.

1.) Use a silicone baking mold, it can handle temperatures up to 400F and is much easier remove the final product. For experiments I've been using a cupcake mold which is good for a 1/4 cup sample.

2.) Heat in short increments at the beginning (more violent boiling at a lower temperature due to the alcohol first boiling off) and at the end (sharp increase in temperature as the sugar concentration rises).

3.) When experimenting constantly take the temperature between short heatings (20-30 seconds). This will give you a good idea of how long it takes to evaporate the liquid.

For Maraschino (Luxardo) I had to use 20 sec intervals for the first 1.5 minutes, then could let it go for 3 mins straight before going back to 20 sec intervals until 303.5F was reached. The result when cooled is an easily removable "puck" of Maraschino:

Posted Image

A quick grind in my mortar results in a fine powder:

Posted Image

Thus far this technique has worked for Campari, Angostura Bitters (with added sugar), Green/Yellow Chartreuse, and Maraschino. Sloe Gin didn't work so well but I think I can add more sugar to make it work. I plan to go through the rest of my liquors to see what else can be made into powders.

One outstanding question is if the high temperature changes the flavor/aroma of the liquor. The Green/Yellow Chartreuse lost most of their more floral aroma about half way though the process and ends up tasting more vegetal (not unlike the Elixir Végétal).

Disclaimer: Your results may very depending on your microwave and elevation

edit: spelling and pictures now link to higher resolution pictures on flickr

Edited by donbert, 20 March 2007 - 11:27 AM.


#2 donbert

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 11:07 AM

I also plan to try using the same technique to "infuse" salts. I was able to make a candy cap mushroom tincture to which I added salt and dehydrate by leaving it over night above a pilot light.

#3 bostonapothecary

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 12:11 PM

I also plan to try using the same technique to "infuse" salts. I was able to make a candy cap mushroom tincture to which I added salt and dehydrate by leaving it over night above a pilot light.

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wow, must try that salt technique.....

but anyhow heating any alcohol endangers evaporating all essential oils that contribute the flavor.....or the good flavor anyhow.....

are the flavor results actually interesting enough to make it worth your while?
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#4 bpeikes

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 07:03 AM

The flavors are definitely interesting. The Campari dust works very well, while the Chartreuse dust definitely lost some of the delicate flavors, but I'm not sure if that was due to the high temperatures or just that in a powder state you don't get the same kind of coverage on the tongue. Would be interesting to take the powders adding alcohol and comparing the flavor to the original product.

wow, must try that salt technique.....

but anyhow heating any alcohol endangers evaporating all essential oils that contribute the flavor.....or the good flavor anyhow.....

are the flavor results actually interesting enough to make it worth your while?

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#5 Kerry Beal

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 07:11 AM

I have a vacuum microwave and my experiments with drying banana were failures, however I should fool around with the liquids, because by applying the vacuum you can decrease the amount of heat required to dry the liquid. Might not lose the delicate flavours as much.

#6 bostonapothecary

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 06:20 PM

rehydration sounds like a pretty cool experiment....

i wish i knew more about the scientific effects of drying.... especially how it can remove bitter principles....

like to curacaos they dry the seville oranges in the sun.... i don't think the orange oil escapes but more some reason it is less bitter???

you can blanch them to the same effect....

maybe it only works with oranges because unklike most things the bitter principle escapes at a lower temperature than the essential oil?

maybe someone can enlighten me....

i just got some orris root to master for a nice creme do violette..... i'm just hoping it won't be a bitter mess....
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#7 jmfangio

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 07:19 PM

This thread has really piqued my interest. I have a fresh bottle of Campari, so I'm going to give that a whirl.

Now, if anyone can figure out how to infuse the solid with carbon dioxide, that would be really cool. Negroni pop rocks, anyone?

Edited by jmfangio, 22 March 2007 - 07:22 PM.

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#8 misterdyer

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 01:49 AM

I imagine that this is the right topic for which to emerge from the shadows of the back bar and make my first post.

I've been dehydrating and de-boozing Campari since February, when I found an Aussie barkeep on Drinkboy that had been experimenting with it. Inspired, I started playing around with it, only to find that baking Campari is an all night affair. Enter Don, and his microwave-and-silpat solution. Ahhh, what a remedy. Thank you, Don -- I owe you a drink or two for the time saved.

I've been using the Campari powder as a rim on a bastardized Tailspin/Bijou variation that has been popular in my bar:

Rope on Fire
1 3/4 Plymouth gin
3/4 Chartreuse Green
3/4 Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes ROB #6

Moisten rim of cocktail glass with grapefruit slice, dip into Campari powder, stir, strain, smile.

I've also had some limited success powderizing (yes, I conjugated it into a verb) Torani Amer, Yellow Chartreuse, Peychaud's, Herbsaint, Maraschino, and Canton Ginger.
It's just cold booze in a glass. Drink it, dammit.

#9 weinoo

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 03:57 AM

I've been using the Campari powder as a rim on a bastardized Tailspin/Bijou variation that has been popular in my bar:
     
          Rope on Fire 
          1 3/4  Plymouth gin
            3/4  Chartreuse Green
            3/4  Sweet Vermouth
          2 dashes ROB #6

Moisten rim of cocktail glass with grapefruit slice, dip into Campari          powder, stir, strain, smile.

I've also had some limited success powderizing (yes, I conjugated it into a verb) Torani Amer, Yellow Chartreuse, Peychaud's, Herbsaint, Maraschino, and Canton Ginger.

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So, where's your bar and what's it called?
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#10 Kerry Beal

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 04:06 AM

I imagine that this is the right topic for which to emerge from the shadows of the back bar and make my first post.

I've been dehydrating and de-boozing Campari since February, when I found an Aussie barkeep on Drinkboy that had been experimenting with it.  Inspired, I started playing around with it, only to find that baking Campari is an all night affair.  Enter Don, and his microwave-and-silpat solution.  Ahhh, what a remedy.  Thank you, Don -- I owe you a drink or two for the time saved.

I've been using the Campari powder as a rim on a bastardized Tailspin/Bijou variation that has been popular in my bar:
     
          Rope on Fire 
          1 3/4  Plymouth gin
            3/4  Chartreuse Green
            3/4  Sweet Vermouth
          2 dashes ROB #6

          Moisten rim of cocktail glass with grapefruit slice, dip into Campari          powder, stir, strain, smile.

I've also had some limited success powderizing (yes, I conjugated it into a verb) Torani Amer, Yellow Chartreuse, Peychaud's, Herbsaint, Maraschino, and Canton Ginger.

View Post

Welcome Misterdyer,

Tell us a bit more about the drying technique if you would. Are you having more trouble with the sweeter liquids?

#11 misterdyer

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 02:46 AM

Mitch~ I'm keeping bar at Jack the Horse Tavern, 66 Hicks St, in Brooklyn Heights. Humble lil' joint with fair to middlin' cocktails.

Kerry~ The process as I learned it was to pour the Campari into a shallow baking sheet, then slowly bake in the oven at low, low, low heat. The Campari eventually loses its water and alcohol, and solidifies. Then it's simply a matter of scraping the solid Campari "brick" off the baking sheet, crushing it into a powder, and enjoying a cocktail. However, the revised process that Donbert came up with is much more efficient.

And, yes, I am having trouble with sweeter liquids. The oven process doesn't work with Cointreau - it only caramelizes it. I also failed with MB Apry and Belle de Brillet.

At that point, my wallet climbed out of my back pocket, looked me dead in the eye, and in a stern voice (which echoed throughout its cavernous and near-empty bill compartment) told me to quit experimenting on expensive liqueurs. I obeyed.
It's just cold booze in a glass. Drink it, dammit.

#12 mkayahara

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 08:51 AM

Has anyone had any luck using this technique to dehydrate Drambuie?
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