Molecular Mixology

Richard Lambert: I asked Lambert if he noticed any quirk in the Indian palate when it comes to alcohol. He said that everyone he met in India told him they loved sweets, but when they chose their drinks they usually picked some of the driest spirits there are. Why do you think that is?

I recently attended the Cointreau Cocktail workshop through Ambrosia where Richard Lambert, Global Brand Ambassador for Cointreau gave bartenders and mixologists an education in Molecular mixology.

What is molecular mixology?

It is molecular gastronomy, but with alcohol.

 So what is molecular gastronomy?

In the most simplistic sense  molecular gastronomy as a style of cooking takes into account the chemical and physical processes that accompany cooking. To the uninitiated it might sound overly scientific but it is actually quite fascinating and combines design, science, and food brilliantly to create what can sometimes only be described as a piece of art.

Here’s a cool video I stumbled upon which shows Ferran Adrià, often referred to as the Father of Molecular Gastronomy, reinventing the olive.

Look how shiny that olive is! This process where liquid is reshaped into a sphere whose “skin” is a gelled form of the liquid is called Spherification.

In molecular mixology these same concepts are applied to alcohol and cocktail ingredients giving classic cocktails, that have been made in the same way for centuries, a new twist. Take the Inside Out Bloody Mary for instance. The Bloody Mary cubes melt into the glass as you drink the liquid. Ingenious, right?

Inside Out Bloody Mary

But this is quite tame in comparison to the more scientific processes involved in molecular mixology.

Lambert demonstrated the Cointreau Caviar – a recipe which was created for the 60th Cannes Film Festival in 2007. The concoction was an instant hit at the glamorous festival. But what made it stand out was not just its innovation nor the precision that it demanded, but the 24 carat edible gold flakes that it used. Turning Cointreau from a liquid to a solid state, these pearls of Cointreau burst in your mouth releasing the full flavour of the liqueur. You can find the recipe here.

Cointreau Caviar

Usually the spherification is done using a syringe or a portable dropper, but in restaurants which are big on molecular mixes a mechanical device with multiple pipettes drops the substance into a large tank of water, for uniformity in size. The kind of recipes that are out there are incredible, here’s a nice collection of a few.

96 droplets at once!

The syringe and dropper included in most molecular mixology kits.