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  1. 1.5 oz. two Indies rum 1 oz. die hockland inkvar honey dew lime tree blossom mead 1 oz. Caramelized Campari Monster Something just uncanny is gong on here and a penetrating rummy character is linking up with possibly the rare circumstance mead and its like becoming illuminated or something (in the mind). I lent my dehydrator to my friend's children to play with so I was dehydrating a partially fermented non-volatile fraction of Campari on the stove and I spaced out reading a really great BMW article and, well the non-volatile fraction reduced enough to caramelize so I just rolled with it. But I guess I need that dehydrator back to get a little more control over this stuff.
  2. There is a pretty significant modernist backlash in the drink world. I don't think writers like it very much because it can be challenging to write about and there are no corporate sponsors or free trips. Modernist stuff for some reason gets more associated with science than it does with art which is a shame. I like to be in the art camp and I see a lot of it as the new painting. I'm going to teach a workshop on aesthetics at the sMFA in the fall and we are going to drink our way through some of the ideas and discuss them in the context art, making strong connections to painters like Kandinsky or Hans Hoffman. I've got permission to make drinks and I'm gong to make it well worth anyone's while to take the class. You can do very similar things with chartreuse but the non-volatile fraction isn't very significant because chartreuse is the product of distillates and not infusions. There is a recipe for Sugar-swap-chartreuse in my distiller's workbook and it was re-imagined really well at Peg+Patriot in London. They also made a really cool version of my concept marmite distillate. I'm itching to get to London.
  3. introducing the Campari monsters: 1 oz. gin (seagram's) 1 oz. vermouth (M&R) 1 oz. Campari Monster® Campari Monster®'s are created using nth degree high fidelity abstractions of Campari. Some people might be familiar with Super Campari or Super Aperol, but Campari Monster®'s are a bit more sophisticated. In this example, the volatile fraction of Campari is evaporated leaving behind a water based non-volatile fraction. The sugar in that fraction is fermented with yeasts immobilized in alginate beads. If assembled properly, the immobilized yeasts do not leak so there is less or no yeasty aroma left in the product. You can also ferment with a very high cell load so fermentation is very rapid which is needed in a restaurant scenario. That ethanol can be saved (beast mode) or be evaporated away to reveal a sugar free non-volatile fraction with the high fidelity color and gustatory bitterness of Campari. This abstracted fraction can be reincorporated into the volatile fraction or a complete Campari to up the color and gustatory bitterness. In the case above, the isolated sugar free non-volatile fraction was reincorporated into regular Campari to create a more bitter experience. Campari monsters can take many forms and near every facet can be manipulated in isolation or a few tandems. Some Campari monsters are carbonated with their own sugars (Immobilized yeasts, and a champagne bottle manifold fitted with a guage to know when to arrest fermentation, and very sophisticated dosage). Some Campari monsters have their sugars swapped for others like Jaggery or Grape Mistelles. Some Campari monsters are Campari crammed into Malört shaped boxes (higher innate alcohol, less sugar, more bitter). To help anyone wrap their heads around it all, if a Campari monster was anthropomorphized, it would resemble a Rat Fink. Hopefully I don't get excommunicated from the cocktail scene for pursuing this kind of stuff.
  4. very interesting idea. I always thought I'd find a research paper that detailed more of how commercial tonic is made but I never have. I suspect they do something similar to remove a lot of color and undesirable compounds. I've been helping someone to develop a product with Chaga, which is a fungus that grows on birch trees. extracting flavor from it has been a unique challenge and some parts of it are very water soluble and others are only alcohol soluble. most people extract it in boiling water first and then take the insoluble grounds and put those in high proof alcohol. eventually the water extract and the ethanol extract are married.
  5. I've slowly been getting around to executing ideas I came up with quite a while ago. the idea here is to use some ideas in pectin removal to turn a marmalade or a jam into a liqueur. as alcohol % increases pectin solubility decreases and eventually you can shock the pectin out of solution. my first proof of concept was making an orange liqueur from some marmalade I had and the results were really enjoyable. for high proof spirits, I used the "technical reserve" from industry city distillery in brooklyn. I let it sit blended with the marmalade and after a few days centrifuged it. the resulting liquid I eventually ran through a coffee filter in my Acme centrifugal juicer and I sugared the result of that. it made a pretty spectacular sidecar. I found some interesting and particularly affordable jams a while back made by the trappist monks at st. josephs abby in spencer mass. these monks had also just built a brewery to make trappist style ales. I think they should be making fruit liqueurs so I thought I'd play with my pectin removal technique and prove that to them: 1 oz. Amrum two indies rum (from both India and the west indies) 1 oz. St. joseph's abbey hopped damson plum gin 1 oz. lime juice 6 grams florida crystals cane sugar an awesome drink. the spirits used to extract flavor from the jam were an uncut hopped gin from a few years ago, possibly pacific jade hops. the bulk of the pectin was centrifuged away and then it got the coffee filter treatment. I didn't use any enzymes and possibly you could to remove the slight remainder, but I didn't want any of the methanol that is formed as byproduct of breaking up the pectin. I would love some other people to taste this mock Damson gin. it does lack some concentration that you find in others but sometimes others are also too concentrated. I also didn't add any additional sugar beyond what came through in the process. I'm sure I should make it sweeter. what I'm hoping to do is inspire all those hipster jam makers in brooklyn (as well as various religious orders) to see their same fruit in a new way and possibly become liqueurists. this technique shouldn't be the cornerstone of anyone's production (or should it?) and sometimes I just like a scoop of marmalade shaken in my drink, but its handy from time to time to show off a concept. I had used the ideas a few weeks ago to remove excess pectin from Aronia fruit and greenhook gin smith's uses the same concepts to remove pectin from beach plums in their beautiful beach plum gin.
  6. Thanks for taking a look Rafa. It is so hard to talk about some of this stuff concisely and for the layman. I hope I did it some justice. Its so easy to miss speak when you are on a journey learning about something and want to share where you're at as you go. We need to give Lost Spirits a ton of respect for sharing as they go. I've shared stuff here for years especially exploring new language and techniques for describing things. The further back in time you go, the worse my writing is. I wrote an article a few years ago called From Free Fatty Acids To Aromatic Esters: Esterification in the Still Made Simple®. It looked at how esters form in the still and how they form elsewhere during production. It also looked at how decisions made to manage other congener classes impact esters and vice versa. It was really hard to write and I made tons of errors, some I edited and some are probably still there. Lately its been getting a ton of reads, but as usual zero comments. One of the things I posited is that we'd see distillers seduced by the ester idea and they'd try to make super high ester products akin to the double I.P.A.s and ultra hopped beers. We might be seeing that now. Another thing that comes up with Lost Spirits is that Bryan Davis' ideas on dunder aren't exactly historically accurately (as we found out only recently through discovering some lost literature). But hell, no one else's were either. A post I wrote called Muck Hole Not Dunder Pit, inspired by an eGullet flame war on this very thread, sheds some light on the true history and science of both muck & dunder and points to some amazing primary documents.
  7. I'm really curious and optimistic about the Lost Spirit rums. I'd pick up any bottle I came across, but no I haven't tried any yet. I did spend some time looking at their white papers and I wrote a lengthy analysis of their Wired articled. Hopefully it can help people make sense of what they are doing there and how sophisticated they are (hint not very sophisticated and very poorly researched). We kind of assume if you're a distiller, you are all knowing and fully educated, but that definitely isn't so. But hell, every time I travel I'm on the search for moonshine and amateur efforts. And I've been known to torture spirits here and there. Making any spirits well quickly becomes a twenty year journey, whether the produce realizes that or not. I think it can be fun to drink along every step of the way. Investigating Lost Spirits' Investigations Part I Investigating Lost Spirits' Investigations Part II Investigating Wired's Investigation of Lost Spirits Accelerated Aging
  8. spending more time with Aronia .75 oz. lime juice .75 oz. Cape Verdean rum .75 oz. Brandymel Limao .75 oz. Pectin free Aronia liqueur this is a gorgeous drink with extraordinary overtones created by the Aronia and honey all the while penetrated by Cape Verdean funk. Aronia was a fruit I had to wrestle with. It is very high in pectin which is why I think its so uncommon. adding alcohol shock much of the pectin out of solution and a 15 minute centrifuging at 4000g's removed most of it. I probably should have chilled it before it put it in the centrifuge to shock more out. still little globules clung to the glass as I swirled it. so I ran it through the Acme centrifugal juicer using it only as a filter. this aerates it so I simply de-aerated it with the champagne bottle manifold. all that torture and I had the most lovely liqueur that danced around my snifter with no cling of pectinous globules. perhaps I could have used an enzyme, but I suspect they should only be used for the remaining balance. bring on the next obscure fruit. GET YOUR JUICE ON: MY NEW FINING TECHNIQUE IS UNSTOPPABLE!
  9. 2 oz. Hiram Walker Five O'Clock gin from 1941 1 oz. Noilly Prat dry vermouth garlic stuffed olive This was a test drive of a newly acquired vintage bottle distilled by Seagrams under Herman Willkie who was probably the most significant distiller of the 20th century. Herman Willkie also pioneered the large scale vacuum distilling of spirits, particularly gin though he also explored brandy. The current Seagrams gin is distilled under partial vacuum so even though Willkie isn't a household name we drink his legacy all the time. Willkie developed most of the significant methods of standardzing botanical charges to keep products more consistent so they could be elaborated with confidence. And he shared this information under a unique spirit of openness that existed in distilling at the time though less so now. Willkie held many patents but he gave them all away and eleven gigantic ethanol plants were built around the world using patent processes he shared freely. Herman was the younger brother Wendell Willkie who was the dark horse internationalist Republican presidential nominee challenging FDR in 1940. Wendell helped push the U.S. into helping the Allies defeat the Nazi's. FDR appointed Wendell Willkie as general ambassador and he traveled extensively ultimately writing a book called One World about internationalism and U.S. responsibilities as a super power. Herman Willkie ultimately wrote a book called A Rebel's Yell about corporate responsibility and management technique from his experiences at Seagrams (I just ordered a copy). There is a lot more to their story and they are definitely among the greatest American's of their generation. The gin is definitely intact and the fill level on the bottle was excellent. Spirits definitely age in the bottle so this is probably more of a symbolic thing to drink than any kind of extraordinary sensory experience. The only note besides juniper detectable is a sort of light menthe character that lifts up here and there. With all the spirits geekery out there, Herman Willkie should be better known. What he did back then was astoundingly modern and boundary pushing and besides technical achievements, he was quite the thinker in general.
  10. Lately I've been exploring Aronia berries which were given to me by a boutique grower in Maine. 1.5 oz. sugared Aronia berry juice (250 g/L) 1.5 oz. water 1 oz. Tabasco aromatized gin .5 oz. lime juice carbonated to 7 g/L Aronia is a really fun but seldom seen fruit. It has pleasant amounts of tannin, refreshing acidity, and just the right density so as not to overshadow. It has a foot in the door with Concord grapes but I don't think its fair to call it foxy. This comparison probably won't mean much to people, but it reminds me very much of the Brazilian Jabuticaba which comes into my neighborhood as a liqueur and is something I've explored over the years. This sparkling drinks features the awesome tension of the Aronia with the penetrating aroma of the distilled Tabasco. Carbonation just lifts all the aromas in a great way and make it very perfumey. You wouldn't immediately think so but tannin lends itself to carbonation well. No wonder dry Lambruscos are making a comeback. .75 oz. Aronia as liqueur (20% alc. 300 g/L sugar) .75 oz. Chestnut flower mead (Die Hockland Inkvar) .75 oz. lime juice .75 oz. Gin 2 dashes Peychauds This is pretty exquisite and the intersection of chestnut flower and aronia is rather stunning. supposedly in colonial times New England was covered in chestnut trees and it likely would have made up much of local honeys. At some point in time tree diseases killed off most of them and mostly erased them from our history and local traditions. Aronia here was just a simple liqueur but it needs some refinement. Aronia is very high in pectin which starts to precipitate with alcohol. I de-scummed some of the pectin but next time I'd use more elaborate techniques to limit pectin starting with juicing differently. If any of you have enjoyed my writing I'm pursuing nominations for Best cocktail & spirits writer at the 2015 TOTC. I typically don't pursue these kinds of things but I've been told that recognition might open doors to larger projects (and I definitely have larger ideas just hanging around!). Many people think of spirits writers as legitimized by columns in newspapers but this thread and my blog are most certainly legitimate spirits writing and have been a fountain of ideas for the last eight years. Some claim not much new has happened in the cocktail scene in a while, but believe me, we haven't even scratch the surface. eGullet isn't as vibrant as it used to be but this is where everything happened first. Vermouth making, extreme keg batching, champagne bottle manifolds, cocktail centric distillation, Cape Verdean rum, and all things Portuguese all appeared here first on the Drinks thread on eGullet. cheers!
  11. The rest of his article contains other folk liqueurs and is worth a read. I was so impressed with it all I retyped it up and hosted it on my blog a few years ago. The sun fades the aromas in a cool way. Often these infuse for 40 days so if you start now, the sun will be out by the time you need it. Probably the most famous sun aged product is the Cerise au Soleil from Provence which are alcohol preserved cherries aged for the duration of the summer on a clay roof top. Years ago I was making a Ratafia of pomegranate seeds in cognac and and a bottle of it sat on my kitchen window sill in a crystal decanter. I simply liked the way the light came through it and I didn't even have much intention of drinking it. Eventually I tasted it and found it much improved. There aren't any good explanations for what happens because it isn't really viable to producers on a commercial scale.
  12. I've really wanted to go after the bespoke hotel minis market. we tried to do it in London but my collaborator left the hotel abruptly to start a new project. I designed a bottling plant that could do 10 gallons a week in 200mL bottles, carbonated or not. I've really wanted to do it at a gastro hotel in some far flung place to give you a little taste of civilization in your secluded romantic Cabana. part of the problem is teaching operation. its all grunt work so you need to teach it to someone. sterilizing bottles, de-aeration, carbonating or not. I just got a goPro so now I can start to make some quality instructional videos.
  13. I really like the looks of what they are serving. I hadn't taken a look probably since they began. I'd say citrus fruits like lemons and limes can be more relied on than the botanicals they are putting in their drinks whose quality changes so much more than you'd think. A big part of what I'm working on now is to standardize botanicals for oil yield with fairly accessible means which will help more people make higher quality stuff like gins on the very small scale. Granted they probably get one batch of an ingredient, make a drink with that batch, then can change the drink instead of having to repeat that batch exactly. This summer I might get to kick off a bar, tasting room, and/or lab, but we're really not sure how its going to go. Its pretty much right in the fruit market so I can go get produce with a hand truck and just walk it down the sidewalk. I'll also be legally allowed to distill so besides all the usual madness, I'm hoping I can take all the peels from juicing and harvest the essential oils for candles and hand sanitizers if I can fit it in with all the other tasks. In London they have a very different legal framework as here, but I'm hoping to set a strong precedent that an Indie Distillery should have a big focus on their retail business and it should be a place that is fun to visit again and again. To be honest, it will probably strongly resemble White Lyan or Peg + Patriot (but with more citrus juice and definitely ice).
  14. are they really still doing that? I remember reading about that idea, but only right when they opened. I suspected they might change as other techniques became available. Juices aren't really that perishable if you know how to process them and exactly why they change. back in 2008 I had done some fun investigation with various wine makers acids. I was making vermouth or sherry, both tart as a lemon and other funky stuff like a tart pineapple-irish moss syrup. people weren't ready for it around here, they were just having their first Jack Roses back then.
  15. I de-aerate my juices with pressure from CO2. This forces the oxygen out of solution and prevents oxidized aroma and browning but does not prevent enzymatic bittering (which can be charming). I've been able to juice green apples and keep the juice from browning without even adding ascorbic acid. I don't know how many other people are hip to these techniques.
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