The past 20-30 years have been remarkable in terms of innovation and technological improvement in the beverage industry. We’ve seen corporations that can brew identical beer all around the world, no simple feat considering all the different variables that go into making beer. Wineries have discovered the attraction and efficiency of steel fermentation tanks and mechanical grape pickers. These are all things that revolutionized the industry. We can say the same with the arrival of the phenomenon known as molecular mixology.
Before I get into the nitty gritty of molecular mixology, I feel I should prepare you with a brief definition of what it’s about. Wikipedia defines it as: “The term applied to the process of creating cocktails using the scientific equipment and techniques of molecular gastronomy. These methods enable the creation of greater intensities and varieties of flavour and different ways of presenting drinks, for example using gels, powders, foams, atomised sprays etc., as well as affecting the appearance of the cocktail.” All the scientific jargon aside, it basically is a way of over-complicating the shit out of a classic cocktail for some interesting results. A basic principle of molecular mixology is the idea of “layering” a cocktail.
This means that you mix the ingredients of a drink in a specific order for a specific result. A common concept of this is the mojito. You muddle together 1 large sprig spearment and .75 oz of simply syrup, then add half a spent lime hull, 1 oz of lime juice, 2 oz of white rum, and finally 3 oz of sparkling mineral water. To toss the ingredients together at random will not show you the true essence of the drink. The mojito was meant to be mixed a certain way and to drink it any other way can only give you the impression of what the mojito is like. Molecular mixology really takes this idea and runs with it. To get an idea of what these bartenders-turned-rogue-scientists do, check out the Frankenstein-esque mojito by molecular mixologist Eben Freeman:
“The recipe for our Bacardi Superior Mojito is the same as the classic Bacardi Mojito developed in the 1800’s by the mixology pioneers; Bacardi Superior is ideal as it was developed to mix with fresh mint, fresh lime juice, sugar and fizzy water. The only difference is the form of these ingredients, the processes used to make these forms and the addition of gelatin and Xanthan gum. The mint is pureed, strained and made into pearls by adding gelatin to the mint “water” and dropping the mixture into liquid nitrogen where it sets. The lime juice is sweetened and put through the same process to form pearls. The Bacardi rum is diluted with water, sweetened, thickened with a small amount of Xanthan gum and carbonated”
If things like the flying car exist, then it should be no surprise that we are seeing beverages and food of every viscosity, texture, consistency, density, and flavor known and unknown to man. We are taking creativity to a new level and I am going to be there with a bib and a straw to experience it.