11 May 2011
Although Drink Factory technically didn’t exist apart from maybe as an idea or a brainchild of Tony C, at the time, our first foray into the world of hydrosol was way back in 2004/2005 when Tony discovered the possibilities and variety of uses of Hydrosols after becoming disillusioned and tired of having to work with essential oils and never quite reaching the desired flavour profile.
Hydrosols have actually quietly been present and accounted for in cocktail for many years. As far back as the Ramos Gin Fizz which contains orange blossom water, which is essentially a diluted hydrosol commonly used in desserts and cocktails.
Since 2005 they have become more and more prevalent in the industry enjoying fame both in the UK and across the pond in the US where our friend Audrey Saunders was inspired enough to start using them in her cocktail creations.
Hydrosols are described as a bi-product of essential oil distillation and condensed water left over after steam or water distillation. They are said to contain the very essence of what was in the plant. They are also famed for retaining many of health elements of the plant or flower. During essential oil distillation some of these elements are often lost. These elements are absorbed into steam, which later condenses back into the leftover distillate retaining the healthy elements collected.
Hydrosols are probably most often used in alternative medicine and alternative remedies in place of essential oils. As they are water based it is safe to use these directly onto skin or ingest.
Due to their rise in popularity in recent years it means they are now produced as a stand alone product in themselves. As apposed to just being a waste product they are now deliberately distilled and sold as a stand out product.
In their purest and most undiluted form they have an extremely intense, powerful and pure flavour meaning they can either be diluted further into water and used in cocktails as part of the drinks ratio or as a way of controlling dilution. In their purest and strongest form, they can be added in Micro-litres (1000 micro litres in 1ml) to a cocktail or spirit and used to add flavour without affecting the drinks proportions.
There has recently been an increase in “Fake” hydrosol or Floral Waters that uses synthetic compounds to gain the required flavour but have no real therapeutic or health benefits of the real thing, however from a cocktailing point of view these alternatives can provide a similar flavour at a lower cost so do have advantages dependant on their purpose.
Thankfully we here at Drink Factory have got our hands on a Buchi Rotavapor which means that since 2006 we have been able to tailor make our own hydrosols to a specific spec. We are able to play with the density and concentration of each hydrosol which means each one is literally tailor made for the drink it accompanies.
Hydrosols are readily available online and are often now being sourced by food suppliers.