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Better Living With Cocktails Made With Chemistry Tricks

on 17/05/13 at 9:07 am

Booze News

SNN0815DRIN---620_1597829aWhen chef Michael White opens The Butterfly in New York in mid-June, the cocktail bar will pay homage to White’s native Wisconsin with a brandy old-fashioned, a favorite libation in the Badger State.

Instead of muddling an orange with bitters, sugar and a cherry, however, Eben Freeman, head of bar operations for White’s Altamarea Group (0543946D), will put all of the ingredients into a chamber vacuum sealer, a cumbersome device that recalls the hyperbaric chamber used to explode a man’s head in the 1989 James Bond film “Licence to Kill.”

Fortunately, Freeman avails himself of the chamber’s high-pressure environment for peaceful purposes: to draw out all of the delicious oils from the fruit, Bloomberg Pursuits will report in its Summer 2013 issue.

“You won’t necessarily know it was done that way,” he says.

The results speak for themselves: This is the best, cleanest-tasting brandy old-fashioned you’ll get, anywhere. Freeman’s approach is part of a larger technological revolution that’s changing the way we drink at ambitious cocktail bars across America (and, in one especially memorable instance, Barcelona).

Don’t call it molecular mixology, because this is less about spheres, foams and gels than it is about bartenders using expensive laboratory equipment with multisyllabic names to make the drinks we already drink far better.

Cutting-Edge Alcohol

And while bartenders have always availed themselves of the latest gadgets and gizmos, the modern era of cutting-edge alcohol is best traced back to El Bulli, the late, great Spanish temple of culinary avant-gardism, where guests would kick off their meals with frozen margaritas made with liquid nitrogen.