Ok, now we’re mixing things up! Dry January is behind us, another four weeks of lockdown (at least) are in front of us, it’s definitely time to start experimenting with alcohol to create something new. I have to be honest, molecular gastronomy (think Heston Blumenthal) has never appealed to me. I can appreciate it from afar, admiring the creativity and ingenuity behind the deconstructed dishes, but I usually prefer my food a bit more rustic and simple. Drinks, on the other hand, I’m all for jazzing things up a little and conducting some crazy science experiments at home!
I received a molecular mixology kit for Christmas which was great, as I’d have zero idea where to start otherwise. Inside was a recipe for a homemade tonic syrup, as well as three different ways to experiment with the classic gin and tonic drink. Inside were all the materials and additives to create a tonic foam, gin caviar, and gin and tonic bubbles – it was going to be an exciting night!
The first one I tried, the foam, was definitely the easiest. I mixed some of the very citrussy tonic syrup with water and then dissolved my little sachet of soy lecithin, whizzing it with a hand mixer to create the fluffy foam. I then plopped some of the bubbles on my gin and tonic, and overall it was a really nice and delicate flavoured cocktail. The bubbles were perhaps not my favourite texture for a drink (it did feel a little like bubble bath) but I was pleasantly surprised.
I did try the gin caviar as it looked really cool, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get it to work. It was a bit frustrating as that was the one I was most looking forward to and I could not figure out where I was going wrong. Never mind, I still had one more to try, gin and tonic bubbles. These involved a few steps so I won’t bore you with the details, but essentially were coin-sized bubbles that burst gin and tonic as soon as you put one in your mouth. It was so cool! They really went from being frozen liquid balls to light and delicate bubbles after putting them in a bath of sodium alginate for a few minutes. Science is amazing. The only downside was the bubbles looked a little like frog spawn, and quite honestly, tasted disgusting.
All in all it, my molecular mixology experiments were a bit of a mixed bag. The experiments were really amazing, but the taste just didn’t do it for me. serving. The bubbles tasted very bitter, and a little chemically: I’d obviously not rinsed them enough before serving. With that being said, I would definitely give it a go again, and would even consider some of the molecular gastronomy stuff too. It’s great to feel like a mad scientist, rustling up some crazy concoctions in my kitchen – I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner!