09 November 2011

Pressure Cooking in Cocktails

Inspired by Dave Arnolds splurry of knowledge on the post below we thought it was time to take the time to look at the pressure cooker as a whole and talk about how we can use that behind or above the bar.

Firstly, what is pressure cooking? Basically the pressure cooker allows you to preset and control the pressure inside the cooker and does not allow any air or liquid to escape below that pressure. This allows you to increase the boiling point of liquid inside the cooker so that the food can be heated to a higher temperature before the liquids start to boil.

The build up of pressure is created before cooking starting with the use of water and steam. The steam is trapped inside the cooker. Put simply "the higher the pressure the shorter the cooking time". Generally speaking you only need around 1/3 of the normal cooking time.

It is only recently that experiments with pressure cooking have begun to show us how much more they can do, than act as an expedient alternative to normal cooking.

For instance if you have watched the video below you will now that pressure cookers react in a interesting way with foods high in sulphur. To demonstrate onions were cooked at 15psi and if cooked in just the right way you can take away the pungency normally associated with onion flavour. The same happened with horse radish, and garlic. After cooking you can eat as much as you like without suffering the usual burning or after dinner garlic breath you would normally expect.

Dave Arnold also goes on to mention how the most prominent flavour left in the onion is it's sweetness. Leaving the options open of making ice cream or even a sweet syrup we could use in cocktail. For, maybe, more practical bar purposes we also find that you can "press" the juice out of fruits.

Berries you can do whole and harder fruits simply need to be roughly sliced into smaller pieces. You can also make syrups and extract flavour from herbs and flower. Just be very careful the flowers are edible, not covered in chemicals and can also be used in steam distillation! To do this you will need a heat proof container, a trivet and a steamer basket. All of which you can buy from the same supplier as your pressure cooker if they did not come with it already .

Specific recipes we will go into another time however make sure you start testing out the best ways of juicing or extracting at different pressures. This potentially leaves a very quick and controlled method of creating our own juices, syrups,and concentrated flavours that we can use every day on the bar.

1 comment:

Tony Harion said...

Maybe it’s possible to develop a low pressure convection inside the pressure cooker to extract flavors in an alcohol base.

It might be possible that herbs or fruit in an alcohol solution can be heated so the alcohol evaporates to meet the lit of the pan which will be chilled forming a continuous distillation and condensation process. This might extract some interesting flavors.

Sounds a bit nuts, but this crossed my mind a few weeks ago and this post reminded me of the thought.