Cocktail Science

Cocktail Science
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Science of Cocktails

Mad science at the bar? A great cocktail is more than the sum of its parts, especially if you sneak in a few cool effects. And you don’t need a chem lab to be an expert mixologist: You can add flavor and pizzaz with just a little effort. If that sounds mad cool, you’ll enjoy these tips for bringing cool effects and new techniques to your mixed drinks. Bunsen burner and beaker not necessary.

Tip #1: Dehydrate spirits to get their flavor without adding liquid volume or more alcohol. The resulting powder can be sprinkled on drinks or used to rim glasses. Try Grand Marnier: Over very low heat in a metal pot, stir until all the liquid burns away. Dry. Then grind for a finer texture.

Tip #2: Blend drinks for frothy tops. Sure, the art of shaking is impressive and everyone should learn to do it right, but for a thick froth atop your glass, use the blender briefly, especially in drinks with egg whites. The foam you make when you pour will be the perfect canvas for a few drops of bitters.

Tip #3: Don’t be afraid of water. Even a few drops can open up a pour of Scotch, freeing the aromatics to enhance the flavor. The iced variety dripped into a glass of absinthe activates the oils that give the drink its distinct flavor, turning the color from chartreuse to opaque. The milkiness is also a sign on a quality spirit.

Tip #4: Find a great source for dry ice. It chills your drinks in most dramatic fashion, and its foggy cloud creates a great visual effect streaming over the sides of a punch bowl.


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