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Kevin Liu

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Everything posted by Kevin Liu

  1. What happens if you mix the smoothed-over cocktail with small quantities of the original, fresh ingredients?
  2. keep in mind that starting dilution of the drink matters a little bit as well. Here's how it would look in theory: And here are the experimental results: Also, my rules of thumb for shaking vs stirring: (high-res files are at http://craftcocktailsathome.com/charts-and-graphics/) The thing to remember about stirring is that to reach the minimum theoretical equilibrium temperature, you would need to stir for 2 minutes or more (as Dave Arnold has shown). Unless you're stirring in a perfectly insulated container, the drink will warm up a few degrees in that time. Another idea: to get stirred drinks *really* cold, you could toss stir in a few artificial ice cubes (the plastic ones with water inside, or even better the Slushie magic ones with salt water inside). These will allow more chilling with less dilution, though the final equilibrium temperature will always be limited by ABV. Hope that helps.
  3. Kevin Liu


    How did you get homemade orgeat to last 1 1/2 years? i made 750ml of it and didn't use much of it... I should have seen that answer coming. Nice! But what I meant was, even if I do a 2:1 sugar : base orgeat (which I don't, but I tried it just to see how much it helped shelf life) and keep it in a very cold fridge, I've never got anywhere close to that shelf life. Now you have me thinking maybe I'm being over-cautious and tossing it too soon. I have a batch in the fridge that's been in there for 3 months or so that I was planning to dump. I just went and checked it and there's no funky smell or mold, just a layer of fat that's separated out at the top. Now I'm almost tempted to give it a good shake and try it. Maybe I'll wait until Saturday night though. That way, if I have to spend the next day with the porcelain lay-z-boy, at least I won't be at work. I'd be seriously wary of doing that! I've kept orgeat in the fridge for just over a month and it already started growing mold. In the future, if you're looking to keep your orgeat or any syrup for longer, consider dosing it with a little sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate, generally recognized as safe (GRAS) preservatives. Also, the curdling problem upthread I think has to do with the fat vs. carbohydrate ratio. Commercial milks usually add a few hydrocolloids to keep everything dispersed nicely, which is another reason I vouch for simply using commercial almond milk as a base rather than making my own orgeat.
  4. Regarding the shelf life of citrus juices, here's an insightful article by Harold McGee, in which he writes: Just wanted to share that article because he puts the blabber I wrote above into more eloquent words.
  5. @Rafa, great comments, thanks a ton. I'm working on getting all the charts and graphics on to the blog now. If you have any specific questions about recipes or techniques please feel free to post here or drop me an email at kevin@craftcocktailsathome.com
  6. Chris, good catch. I struggled a lot with whether to include this chart: Most online references will say that lime and lemon juices should not be stored in the fridge for more than a week or so, but I wasn't able to find any scientific literature to back that up. The info on lime juice comes from a review of literature found in Hui (ed.), Handbook of Fruits and Fruit Processing, Page 345. It summarizes a 1961 paper by Ikeda et al. this way: "Pasteurized juice can be stored at 2◦C for 15 months without appreciable change in flavor. In untreated samples, changes occur and storage life is limited to about 4.5 months at 27◦C." So I actually tried to go *very* conservative in the 1-2 month recommendation, which I found reference for lemon juice, if memory serves me right. With that being said, "Shelf life" in this context refers specifically to when consumers felt that lime juice was "unacceptable" in flavor. By my testing, I think lime juice gets overly bitter in about a day or so due to enzymatic bittering, which is why I say the juice is best used in 4-10 hours. So: I wouldn't use 1-2 month lime juice ever. But I wanted to be complete in my testing, so there you go. Does that make sense?
  7. What amazing company to keep on this humble food forum! All four of the previous four posters are featured in the book in various ways. You guys are an inspiration! Hope you like the book and please let me know if there is anything I can clarify/correct/add to.
  8. What is the benefit of letting the pineapple sit in the tequila rather than, saying pulverizing the pineapple with the tequila in a blender? I imagine the biggest issue will be filtering/clarification, but if you have a technique for that, is the long rest time really necessary?
  9. Did some mixing and testing over the weekend. Used 20 g cut cinchona bark: 1 cup of water (about 220g). Heated to boiling, then steeped for 30 minutes. Cooled (had reduced to 1/2 cup), then strained through a DIY 1-micron polyester filter rigged to an aeropress. The result was gorgeous, a transparent light-brown with no sediment. Added a half cup of water to get it back to original dilution, as well as 220g of sugar to create a syrup. I found that this syrup tastes great with gin, but it's still a little bit too sweet and not bitter enough. I think I will up the cinchona even more. Also, I found that citric acid is absolutely crucial, but in small quantities, as Chris mentioned. Adding lemon juice and lime juice somehow just don't cut it.
  10. new update: Adam at the Boston Shaker carries single-stock glassware for reasonable prices!
  11. replacements.com has a pretty good selection of 4-ish ounce champagne coupe glasses for around $4/glass, plus shipping. Search for "tall sherbet". The style of glass I'm talking about is reflected in the below image. Also, if you search Amazon for "Schott Zwiesel", you can find a good selection of smaller highball, collins, and single old-fashioned glasses, though they're not under that name. The single old-fashioned's are called "pre-dinner" glasses and the small highballs are called juice glasses.
  12. You could try a buchner funnel. *thread hijack* Along these lines, what are some other clarification techniques out there for controlling particulate matter? I know of Dave Arnold's agar method, but what has your experience been with other techniques? charcoal? superbags?
  13. So I just finished reading all 31 pages of this thread. A few notes: - There was a discussion upthread about the impact of a bitters' ABV on flavor. Water is a highly polar solvent; alcohol is mostly polar, but with a non-polar tail, which means it is better at dissolving things like essential oils, which are non-polar. There are also many other compounds found in plant material, such as oleoresins, phenols, esters, and complex carbohydrates (such as pectin). The ratio of water to ethanol used to extract flavors will impact the rate at which various compounds are extracted. Therefore, using differing ratios of alcohol to water will result in extracts that have slightly different flavor profiles, assuming the plant material is not completely extracted. (note, though, that that is an assumption I have not proven). - There have also been discussions relating to whether bitters should be produced by combining individual tinctures/essences/extracts, or whether plant matter should be combined in a final recipe together with an extraction medium Scientifically, the best way to make bitters would be to optimally extract each individual ingredient and then blend those extracts into the exact desired flavor profile. However, I think the reason many bitters seem to turn out better when all the material is extracted together may be due how the extraction of a chemical from certain plant matter affects how much of a similar chemical is extracted from another. For example: let's say you want to make bitters using cinnamon and cinchona (quinine). Let's pretend that each material has only two chemical components - (1) a floral note and (2) a bitter note. Extracted separately, you might get 30 units of floral and 30 units of bitter from cinnamon; ditto with the cinchona. Combined, though, the bitter units of the cinnamon might extract more quickly than the cinchona's bitter components, so the finished product looks something like 30 parts floral cinnamon 20 parts bitter cinnamon 30 parts floral cinchona 10 parts bitter cinchona The result would be a bitters product that could never be produced by extracting ingredients individually. I'd love to hear if any folks w/ chemistry backgrounds can verify my thoughts -Kevin
  14. Alex, I'm not sure I understand the question: I think you're asking how much alcohol being trapped by the pectin mass when you strain the pectin out? I would guess the pectin would trap water and alcohol in roughly equal amounts, so your ABV should be roughly the same as it started out. Kevin
  15. You might be best off going with a simple "sangria" style beverage, perhaps with little or no fortifying spirits added? To amp up the flavor, consider steeping some herbal tea in the wine?
  16. I use a two-stage approach: first, i toss the beans into a 350F oven for about 20 minutes to get them up to temperature. Then I heat them on the stovetop for about 3-5 minutes, depending on bean type and desired roast. I've found this method produced more even and consistent results. The stovetop portion could easily be replaced with a heat-gun high-heat stage, if the stovetop isn't convenient for whatever reason. Full details http://sciencefare.org/2012/02/22/better-home-roast-coffee-two-stage/
  17. Shalmanese - thanks for the insight. I've been getting that a lot so I think I will definitely change the approach for the book.
  18. Wow - that's an awesome link, Tri2Cook. Thanks! Kevin
  19. @Carolyn Phillips- Yes, please! If you would be so kind to fill out this form, I'll get in touch with recipes to test :-) @Kerry Beal Vermouth is super fascinating. The true expert on the subject would be bostonapothecary. His blog is a must-read and he's been giving me a lot of great input behind the scenes too. I'd love to hear what about what you've been working on. good recipes for Vermouth (and other aperitifs) are so hard to come by! @Chris Amirault I'm so glad you brought up these points. I wanted to write a book rather than start a new blog because I wanted these ideas to be presented as a package. It's kind of like the difference between searching the archives of cocktail virgin/slut and leafing through Gary Regan's Annual Manual for Bartenders. Or between digging through ideasinfood's website versus buy Alex and Aki's book. Both forms of media are valid and complimentary. I definitely recognize that no book will beat the speed of innovation on blogs and forums, so I plan to offer whatever this ends up looking like in both print and online forms. I'm hoping to keep the online version under $10 to make it widely accessible. If this whole thing flops or I lose my nerve, then I'll post all the material I've collected so far either on here or somewhere else easily accessible. Any feedback on those thoughts, Chris?
  20. Hi everyone, I'm finally ready to share a project I've been secretly brewing for the last few months: a book covering the science of cocktails. I've found some of the most cutting-edge work on cocktails right here on these forums and I'm hoping revive a few dormant threads. I'm really excited to see what awesome ideas you guys have cooking up. And I'll keep updating my progress right here as this project moves forward. I would really appreciate it if you check out cocktailscience.posterous.com and let me know what additions you'd make or experiments you'd love to see tried. Thanks in advance for your collective wisdom :-)
  21. Couldn't you simply take the sphere and toss it back into the freezer? You'd have to do this ahead of time, but I'm assuming that if you go to the trouble of building an ice-sphere carver, you'll be willing to make some ice in advance?
  22. I'd just like to point out that http://www.awesomedrinks.com/ seems to carry proper (single) old-fashioned glasses and 11 oz highball/ 12 oz collins glasses. They're super-expensive in small quantities, though ($25 for 4). I'm hoping to revive this thread - anyone know of good, cheap places to find cocktail glassware? I've pretty much emptied out all the thrift stores in the area already. Also, what's the best highball glass size? I was thinking 8 to 10 oz.
  23. I'd really like to experiment with speeding up the infusion process, both for practicality's sake and so I can test different recipes side-by-side. A few ideas: - what about macerating the dried spices with a small amount of neutral oil first to more fully dissolve essential oils? the resulting oil would then have to be emulsified into the liqueur - did everyone else macerate the spices dry in a mortar and pestle and then add to alcohol? what about blending the alcohol and spices in something like a vitamix or food processor? - can anyone elaborate on the suggested "aging" step? specifically, what is the science behind what's happening there and can it be sped up? For example, if it's a question of oxidation, maybe the liqueur could be "rapid-aged" by decanting using the Modernist Cuisine blender method? Any insights are much appreciated!
  24. Hello all, bad news: I will actually be traveling for work in March, so I have to change my RSVP to ":-(". Hope you all have a good time!
  25. If you plan to reheat the dish, any moisture from the other components will keep the bacon from crisping up. I would recommend reheating the bacon separately with a dry heat method, then reincorporating with the other ingredients.
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