We have had a few posts over the past few weeks on how to infuse various beverages. We kicked-off the blog with a Fat-washed liqueur with duck fat, and then followed up with Pumpkin Cheerio infused milk cocktail. Both posts highlighted simple approaches to pull flavour into a spirit or into a modifier (i.e. a mix like milk). Both were simple and effective approaches to flavourful cocktails.
Well this evening we are going to illustrate a more complex infusion. We are are going to show an example that utilizes special equipment to infuse a spirit. We wanted to show the spectrum of craft that can be pursued to pull flavours into cocktails.
For this example, we are using a centrifuge to spin a pre-mixed solution of spice rum and banana.
We mixed 750 ml of rum with 3x ripe bananas, and added 2 grams of an enzyme called Pectin Ultra SP-L (which you can buy from gastronomy/kitchen stores).
Now before you get all wound up, the enzyme is added as fruit has particulates (cell-wall stuff) that is hard to separate from spirits after you mix it. So although we are blending the rum and banana, when we go to separate it, it will not separate well as the particulates in the banana will be a bit cheeky. It will create a cloudy end-product. So adding the enzyme will break the banana down. So now you ask, who has time for this shit? Answer: me on a Friday night (all three kids are sleeping), and your bartender at a really cool mixology bar! That is why you pay $25 for that drink or subscribe to our blog for FREE!
So we blend the rum, banana, and enzyme for 5-7 minutes.
Now comes the hocus pocus science part.
This is like that scene in The Prestige where they create that machine where Hugh Grant is doubled to create the magic trick that makes him appear and disappear. Really heavy science happening here. On a side note, David Bowie is in that Movie (playing Nicholas Tesla). Great movie!
We then take this blended mixture of rum, spirit, and enzyme and we run it through a centrifuge running at 4200 rpm (yup thats 4,200 revolutions per minute). The gravitational pull of the centrifuge pulls all the unnecessary cell parts that have been separated by the enzyme apart from the rum, and lets the rum separate into a separate container. Why do we care? We are doing all of this to both separate the particulates of the banana AND serve a crystal clear infused rum. You see, infusing is easy, infusing and having a clear end-product is really hard. So we are using an enzyme and special equipment to illustrate how to produce an end-product that is crystal clear. Remember, in the previous post with the Mended Mary cocktail (Clarified Tomato Juice), we used Agar to clarify the tomato juice. That process creates clear juice but you may have to do that more than once to get REALLY clear juice. And the Pumpkin Spiced Cheerio post really did not care about clarifying the milk as milk is….. cloudy.
And again you ask “Who has time for this?” Ah…the kids are still sleeping and your bartender is not going home for another three hours……
And where do I get the Centrifuge? Don’t worry about that for now - its cheaper to keep paying $25 for your cocktails!
So we end up with a fabulous Banana-infused Spiced Rum that we shake over ice with our Black & Blue Bitters. We then pour this into a coupe, and garnish with a apple slice dusted with crushed cardamom pods. The Banana flavour pairs nicely with the Blackberry and Blueberry notes of the bitter. And the garnish is to die for!