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Carbonating Spirits


thegoodist
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Lately I've been using my Soda Club CO2 machine to put some bubbles in my gin, and although this is s fairly straightforward process, I thought I'd share what I've learned and draw on the collective egullet brain trust regarding a few unsolved mysteries.

My findings so far:

1. Start by letting letting the booze cool overnight in the freezer - the colder the booze the more CO2 it can absorb and the more rapidly the CO2 will 'equalize' into the spirit

2. It's more fun to drink booze than to clean it off your kitchen wall - carbonating super cold booze is a very different experience than carbonating water. The CO2 disperses as very tiny bubbles at first, making the spirit look almost cloudy - these bubbles want to escape - don't let them! Wait until the booze clears up again before removing it from pressure. Seriously!

3. Keep the carbonated spirit as cold as possible post-carbonation - typically I'll keep the spirit in the fridge since the carbonating bottle forbids freezing (but what would it really hurt?). I'll try a glass vessel in the freezer and report back with my results.

Questions:

1. Why does the spirit seem to loose it's fizz faster than carbonated water? - I could be crazy but it seems that after a day or two the carbonation is all but gone, compared to water that seems to go flat at half that rate. Is a colder temp required to keep equalization in alcohol? More experimenting is necessary on this.

2. How do you freeze the water in a spirit? - A bottle of cheap blanco tequila once separated in my freezer, yet this hasn't happened with any spirit sense - even at the same proof. Any reasons for this? I'd obviously like to avoid this from happening in the future as I imagine it's bad for the spirit (yeah, I know, like carbonating itsn't).

Lastly, has anyone here tried this? I hear murmurs here and there about using siphons, but I'd love to hear other's experiences and ideas. Sure, it can be a gimmick, but in two cases I think it really made for some enjoyable cocktails -

A 'fully carbonated' gin and tonic:

Carbonated Gin and Tonic

A lightly carbonated Negroni:

Carbonated Negroni

I'd even dare to say that I now prefer my Negroni's 'frizzante'. Though only about half of the cocktail is carbonated (since I go 2:1:1 when carbonating), it adds a velvity texture of small champagne-like bubbles and a bit more bitterness from the carbonic acid that really compliments the Campari.

Any other cocktails out there that could use a good dose of CO2?

Tim Don

Reviews - Booze - Food Porn

thegoodist.com

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I've played around with this concept a bit myself. The most successful of these being a variation of an Orange Blossom:

2 parts Gin (I opted for Plymouth, being citrus-y itself)

1 part Cointreau

1 part freshly squeezed Orange Juice

Loaded into a soda siphon, charged, and poured over crushed ice. Simple, but refreshing. Incidentally, this thread has inspired me to give it another go. I'll keep you updated on my results.

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Tim -

I'd guess offhand that CO2 is just less soluble in ethanol/water than it is in water alone. I'll try and get better info on that when I get back to work (and library access) tomorrow.

That's been my experience so far, it seems to lose it's fizz fairly rapidly after the 24hour mark, even with a tight seal. Oddly it seems to equalize very very well immediately after CO2 is applied and with the low temp it can take on a greater amount of the CO2.

I made carbonated Negroni's during the weekend's festivities and passed the shot glass around right after carbonation to some surprised faces - it seems to almost dissolve on the tongue. Yet, even when kept in the freezer the CO2 seems to escape quicker than it does with water for some reason.

Reviews - Booze - Food Porn

thegoodist.com

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I've played around with this concept a bit myself. The most successful of these being a variation of an Orange Blossom:

2 parts Gin (I opted for Plymouth, being citrus-y itself)

1 part Cointreau

1 part freshly squeezed Orange Juice

Loaded into a soda siphon, charged, and poured over crushed ice. Simple, but refreshing. Incidentally, this thread has inspired me to give it another go. I'll keep you updated on my results.

This sounds fantastic! I'll run to the liquor store tomorrow for a nice orange spirit and give this a go. It's a challenge to determine what would be a good cocktail to carbonate and what wouldn't - the criteria being:

- What could benefit from a smooth texture of bubbles

- What could benefit from the added bitterness of carbonic acid

Example: A Martini would likely be ruined by CO2, but a Margarita might be nice.

Lately I've been thinking that a Mojito made from carbonated rum and no soda would be interesting. It would be fun to serve a Mojito in a cocktail glass...but it could easily be terrible as well...

The risk with all this is that the smallest bottles that Soda Club offers are 500ml - essentially ruining a perfectly fine bottle of booze if things go sideways.

Reviews - Booze - Food Porn

thegoodist.com

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...

The risk with all this is that the smallest bottles that Soda Club offers are 500ml - essentially ruining a perfectly fine bottle of booze if things go sideways.

Underfilling the bottle won't hurt, will it?

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A few years ago I messed around with a Foamy Sloe Gin Fizz. Looking back I think that there was altogether too much egg white. So now i would go straight to a Ramos, I think the texture you would get from the egg white and cream would be chill, creamy, slick loveliness.

Toby

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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...

The risk with all this is that the smallest bottles that Soda Club offers are 500ml - essentially ruining a perfectly fine bottle of booze if things go sideways.

Underfilling the bottle won't hurt, will it?

Unfortunately the design of my machine won't allow for this - it has to be full to the fill line.

Reviews - Booze - Food Porn

thegoodist.com

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Maybe this has been talked about elsewhere, but I had a thought today while discussing the practice of force carbonating beer. The head on a beer like Guinness contains a much finer bubble, due to the incorporation of N2O as opposed to CO2. This results in a creamy, longer lasting head, which had me thinking...

With an ISI cream charger, and a few N2O cartridges, how would carbonating with N2O effect the body/texture of a cocktail?

With a longer lasting, more creamy head, could it replace the use of egg whites? (probably not, and who would really want to replace egg whites, but could this be an alternative?)

With the addition of egg whites and N2O, what would the head of a shaken cocktail look like?

(This could potentially be a very messy experiment, but imagine a carbonated pisco sour, or a ramos super fizz or something)

I need to pick up some N2O chargers this week and experiment... Any thoughts?

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I think the N20 would be a great addition to something like the Ramos. In fact, it looks like the iSi pamphlet in the box has a recipe for a Pina Colada and their site lists a recipe for a Bellini:

http://www.espumas.at/recipes/espuma-cocktail/en/

Both of those call for gelatin, but I'm curious what would happen if you skipped that step - I'm imagining something akin to Guiness or any other beer served out of a nitro keg - could be really interesting...

Reviews - Booze - Food Porn

thegoodist.com

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That Bellini Espuma recipe, with the talk of a carbonated Pisco Sour, has me wanting to make an Angostura Espuma to top it off. Maybe that will be my first project...

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How about a nub of dry ice in a stout bottle ?

One of those camping drink bottles would withstand many psi and seal tightly... Found that out by accident with the mixer and ice cream experiment.

HTH

Jorge

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Maybe this has been talked about elsewhere, but I had a thought today while discussing the practice of force carbonating beer.  The head on a beer like Guinness contains a much finer bubble, due to the incorporation of N2O as opposed to CO2. This results in a creamy, longer lasting head, which had me thinking...

That's not how it works... there's not Nitrous in a beer gas system... it is a blend of N2 + CO2 which allows for a higher pressure and less gas to dissolve into the beer. The key to the Guinness head is the pressure pushing the beer through a special stout faucet. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draught_beer and http://www.brewboard.com/index.php?showtopic=48144

With an ISI cream charger, and a few N2O cartridges, how would carbonating with N2O effect the body/texture of a cocktail?

With a longer lasting, more creamy head, could it replace the use of egg whites? (probably not, and who would really want to replace egg whites, but could this be an alternative?)

With the addition of egg whites and N2O, what would the head of a shaken cocktail look like?

(This could potentially be a very messy experiment, but imagine a carbonated pisco sour, or a ramos super fizz or something)

I need to pick up some N2O chargers this week and experiment... Any thoughts?

I think you might end up with a drink that packs two intoxicants... which might be fun... nitrous does dissolve in water and alcohol... I have no idea what sort of bubbles form when it comes out of solution... somebody try "nitrogenating" (instead of carbonating) some water and some booze and report back!

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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How about a nub of dry ice in a stout bottle ?

One of those camping drink bottles would withstand many psi and seal tightly... Found that out by accident with the mixer and ice cream experiment.

HTH

Jorge

You're getting into hand grenade country there. High pressure and glass are not good playmates. And whatever it is should have a safety pressure release set to vent at like 100PSI.

Remember that a standard CO2 charge to carbonate a liter contains 8g of gaseous CO2... so 8g of solid CO2 would eventually come to the same equilibrium... BUT the transformation from solid to gas could produce some intense pressure spikes as it takes time for the gas to dissolve into the liquid surrounding it. So you could end up with what will eventually be evenly distributed throughout the whole container suddenly concentrated in just the headspace. Make sure your headspace has the fortitude to take that kind of abuse without blowing up.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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With an ISI cream charger, and a few N2O cartridges, how would carbonating with N2O effect the body/texture of a cocktail?

With a longer lasting, more creamy head, could it replace the use of egg whites? (probably not, and who would really want to replace egg whites, but could this be an alternative?)

With the addition of egg whites and N2O, what would the head of a shaken cocktail look like?

(This could potentially be a very messy experiment, but imagine a carbonated pisco sour, or a ramos super fizz or something)

I need to pick up some N2O chargers this week and experiment... Any thoughts?

For what it's worth, N2O cartridges + egg whites = the much-maligned foams of "molecular gastronomy". Gelatin works, too, as does whipping cream, but they all produce different textures. For more information, check out Dale DeGroff's The Essential Cocktail. ETA: That should read, "For slightly more information." There's a lot more to it than he covers, but that should get you started with cocktail foams.

Edited by mkayahara (log)

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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That's not how it works...  there's not Nitrous in a beer gas system... it is a blend of N2 + CO2 which allows for a higher pressure and less gas to dissolve into the beer.  The key to the Guinness head is the pressure pushing the beer through a special stout faucet.  See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draught_beer and http://www.brewboard.com/index.php?showtopic=48144

My mistake, thanks for the clarification.

I think you might end up with a drink that packs two intoxicants... which might be fun... nitrous does dissolve in water and alcohol... I have no idea what sort of bubbles form when it comes out of solution... somebody try "nitrogenating" (instead of carbonating) some water and some booze and report back!

No promises, but I'm off work tonight, so I'm going to try to find some time to experiment.

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On the topic of using dry ice to forcibly carbonate things, it is possible, but make sure to know what you are doing. Whatever you are carbonating, make sure that it is built to withstand higher pressures. Grolsh style bottles tend to do a good job at keeping pressure in. Even then, there is still the chance of the glass exploding. I believe about 10g of dry ice will do plenty for a standard bottle. CO2 cartridges can go up to 16 grams in a single cartridge and those are designed for the liter soda siphons.

Also, N2O cartridges are the same as CO2 cartridges, you could always try both. N2O should dissolve in water but with no proteins in the water, I doubt it will be something particularly interesting. Gotta have milk, or egg whites, or something. Just the distilled spirits is probably too clean for N2O to give off any foaminess.

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I was able to carbonate ice cream very effectively in an open container , so you could carbonate overnight ,in the freezer, open and then cap it later . Dry ice bags ,in fact have instructions for carbonating beverages on them.

HTH

Jorge

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On a slightly different subject, if you have an ISI charger with CO2 cartridges you can also use it to carbonate fruit which can make for interesting garnishes - grapes work particularly well.

Just add a handfull of whole grapes to the charger, charge with CO2, leave to stand for a few minutes, vent the gas off through the nozzle and unscrew the cap. They don't hold their carbonation for very long, but it's long enough to last the duration of the cocktail - I'd always serve them on the side rather than in the drink so they can easily be consumed along with it.

Cheers,

Matt

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On a slightly different subject, if you have an ISI charger with CO2 cartridges you can also use it to carbonate fruit which can make for interesting garnishes - grapes work particularly well.

I've done this with kiwi and apple in my soda club machine, grapes are a great idea though - I'll have to give it a go.

Reviews - Booze - Food Porn

thegoodist.com

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Couple of things. CO2 has a sour taste and NO2 has a sweet taste so you should take that into account in using either. Your not going to get high eating NO2. Also Guinness et all are not pumped with a mix of NO2 and CO2 it's a mix of 70% N (Nitrogen) and 30% CO2. It might get more gas in the beer but it's also not nearly as sour and stouts are not traditionally that highly carbonated. My assumption (meaning I could be very wrong) was that it was used purely because of the more neutral flavor.

Last I would like add my vote to NOT using dry ice. For one thing you are probably not going to find "food grade" easily and it is EXTREMELY dangerous, and I've made fireworks! A local high school did a little science experiment and filled a stainless steel thermos with dry ice and stuck it in a garbage can that had been lined with a foot or so of concrete. It took a few days for it to melt, then it destroyed the can and concrete and the big containment box they put around it. Expanding gas is VERY powerful. That's all explosives are is expanding gas, that is expanding faster than the surrounding environment likes.

Cheers

SK

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