Molecular mixology can go one of two ways.
Some bartenders interpret it as super high-end: the realm of specialist laboratory equipment and the secret, unspoken desire to actually be a chef.
Others see it as something that should be fun, accessible and most importantly, memorable for the customers who end up being served the drinks.
The chaps over at molecularmixology.co.uk certainly fall into the second camp, offering, among other things, molecular starter kits that give any bartender the basic tools to get started with foams and caviars. They have also teamed up with El Dorado rum to launch a nationwide molecular mixology comp, and BarLifeUK was lucky enough to be invited to judge the London heat.
We hunkered down at Marvel on the Fulham road to watch competitors create two drinks – one traditional, one molecular – in a twenty minute slot, and much creativity (but sadly no explosions) ensued.
It was obvious from the outset that everyone involved had put a lot of thought and preparation into their drinks, and both El Dorado and the molecular starter kits were put to good use (although it has to be said, an onset of ‘competition hand tremors’ does not make for easy caviar syringe manipulation). There were foams, beads, carved ice glasses and even smoke trapped in a cocktail glass being used, but after the dust had settled and the judges conferred, two competitors stood out, and were declared the winners.
So, congratulations go to Joe Petch from Sahara Bar in Reading for his ‘All day bartender’s breakfast’ and ‘El Dorado punch 400’, and Quentin Berode from London’s Groucho Club and his creations, ‘The Absentea’ and ‘A Brotherhood’.
Joe and Quentin will go on to face other regional qualifiers in the final, and head down the page for the full specs to their drinks.
One a final note from us, we had a great night at the comp and encourage you to get involved with a heat near you.
We also learned that foam dispensers, when empty of foam, shoot out jets of nitrous oxide. Who knew? Maybe that accounts for a set of rather epic hangovers the morning after…
Winning Drink Specs – Joe Petch
The All Day Bartender’s Breakfast:
- Empty Egg shell x 2 (just in case)
- Coconut cream x 110ml
- Coconut Monin x 50ml
- AGAR x 3 spn
- Mango puree x 20ml
- Sugar Syrup x 25ml
- Pineapple Juice x 25ml
- Eldorado 3yr x 50ml
- Xth mix x 2tblsp
- Madera Cake
- Xth mix x 2 – 3tbspns
- S.Berry Puree x 75ml
- Sugar Syrup x 25ml
- Eldorado 12yr x 50ml
- Lime juice x 25ml
- Passion fruit x 2
- Lemon LRG x 1
- Pineapple juice x 150ml
- AGAR x 8
- P.Fruit Monin x 35ml
- Lemon Juice x 25ml
- Eld 12yr x 50ml
- Egg White x 100ml
- Xanthan x 1spn
- Vanilla Monin x 25ml
- Sugar Syrup x 20ml
- Yellow colouring x 2-3ml
Winning Drink Specs – Quentin Berode
The Absentea (Traditional)
- 50ml El Dorado 12yrs
- 25ml Apple juice
- 50ml English breakfast tea
- 1 spoon honey
- 1 spoon orgeat syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura bitter
Build in a rocks glass full of ice and garnish with an orange twist.
A Brotherhood (Molecular)
- 35ml R.H.A.M
- 35ml Umami black tea foam
- All that in a shot glass and garnish with an apple chips.
R.H.A.M. (or rum infused Iberian ham) is based on El Dorado 12yrs fatwashed with Iberian ham and clarified butter. In a ziplock bag add 30g of Iberian ham and 50g of clarified butter, leave to rest for 48h at room temperature (in France its called Enflorage). Then discard the ham and mix the 50g of butter with 200ml of El Dorado 12YO, leave it to rest for another 48h. Stick the bag in the freezer (to freeze the butter) and after few hours strain the alcohol off the butter. You will end up with a rum flavoured with Iberian ham.
Umami black tea foam 1 litre of English breakfast tea reduced to 1/2 liter (just to concentrate the flavour), 2 large spoon of miso paste and 2 large spoons of honey. The flavour has to be savoury and slighly sweet, but the flavour also has to be strong because once it goes into the foam, those flavours will be reduced. So stick all of that with about 3 or 4 grammes of Agar agar into a soda siphon. Charge it twice with N2O gas (chantilly cream gas or hilarious gas depending of the way you use it )
Apple Chips Royal gala slice very thin, dipped into icing sugar and left in the oven for about 24h at 60°C.
So a all main course served in a cocktail, which can be served in any bar who can make a bit of “mise en place”, no need to wait hours to get your cocktail on your table. Let me know if you want me to come up with a “Roast beef Old fashioned”.