An efficient method of making a hydrosol is by using a Buchi Rota Evaporator. The Rotavapor allows distillation to take place but under a vacuum meaning you are able to change the boiling temperature. Meaning you are able to distill more delicate ingredients which who's volatiles would be destroyed at normal boiling temperature and distillation conditions.
There are few moments more rewarding when working behind a bar than when you hit that perfect combinatoin of flavours that seamlessly blend together.
Suggestions and pointers in this process are always welcome and Bernard Lehousse from Food Pairing is a man who can help. He started by analysing the chemical structure of food products and looking at where there are overlays in their flavour. His work produces some interesting results and surprising combinations that shouldn't work on paper but chemically and practically do.
His work, recently, has branched out into spirit/wine/coffee analysis, meaning we now know that American Bourbon Whisky, from a chemical point of view, will work well with parmesan cheese, soy sauce or rose.
As well as offering a breakdown of overlays they now offer a flavour wheel which offers a more detailed breakdown of Whisky. Not only on a chemically structural level but also on his new site he offers a service which give direct insights into the flavour groups that pair well with with certain products.
Wet Dogs Nose
As useful and intricate aroma can be in cocktails one aroma not so welcoming is the Dogs Nose smell that can come from egg white which has been sitting for too long or is a product of the eggs composition reacting with the alcohol creating a damp smell on the top of your drink. When we factor in aroma counts for 80% of flavour it is obvious how this can quickly ruin a drink.
There had been a long standing conversation between Tony Conigliaro and Audrey Saunders, searching for a solution to the problem. Tony had a eureka moment and beyond just getting around it, he actually took the reaction of the egg with alcohol and used it to add another layer of flavour to a drink.
The technique involves a sealed box containing eggs, which cotton buds are added to. A food grade essence is then dripped sparingly onto the buds before sealing the box and leaving it over night. The aroma in the box will then fill all the empty space including seeping into the egg itself as the the shell is semi-permeable, which means it will absorb small molecules around it, literally adding flavour to the egg itself.
The process for the 2004 vintage, took Van Winkle Rye Whisky, 1920's dubonnet, and various port vintages or red wine then left the batchs in either glass or wood for 6 months. Both batchs were then bottled and left in cellar for either 1 year, 6 years, or the new 7 year 2011 vintage.
Wood Aged Manhattan
For the new Wood Aged Manhattan the process began with wood staves, which is wood taken from both light and dark bourbon barrel. We then batch made a Manhattan mix, in the classic way but without diluting the drink.
This batch was then distilled leaving a colourless liquid, but what it also did was remove the "woody" notes from the cocktail leaving a very clean crisp flavour.
Once the distillation was complete we then transferred the distilled Manhattan into the same bottle as the wood staves. The process has been going for 5 months so far, the picture above illustrates how much the colour and flavour has changed already in this time.