Dedicated watchers of “Parks and Recreation” know from having watched the episode (clip below) in which the boys do a bachelor party at a hipster bar and are served a Nimbus Martini, with an “aromasphere,” meant to be inhaled, a beer that looks like cotton candy and Scotch as a whisky-infused lotion that molecular mixology is the latest (well maybe not-so-latest) thing. While it’s not a very flattering representation, you shouldn’t be put off by the abject weirdness of those drinks. The art can be a lot more inviting and with the help of the Cocktail R-Evolution Molecular Mixology you won’t even have to leave home to enjoy.
For those uninformed: molecular mixology is the use of natural texturing agents to deconstruct food (in this case cocktail ingredients) and present it in a different form. The four basic techniques found in the kit are gelification, thickening, spherification, and emulsification. With them you can create sheets of rum, beads of fruit juice to float in your drink and foams for topping drinks.
The best thing about the product is that it puts everything together in a convenient package. The kit comes with five additive ingredients (calcium lactate, gelatin, sodium alginate, soy lecithin and xanthan gum) as well as measuring and straining spoons and pipettes for dripping liquid into calcium lactate to make beads. There is also a DVD with 30 video recipes.
The directions start you off slow with a foam made of celery salt and water, meant to be floated atop a Bloody Mary. From there you move onto a Gin & Tonic served with spheres of blue curaco (it’s a dramatic color, but we used Aperol for better flavor) suspended within. In a demonstration of reverse spherification, you make blobs that trap frozen mint leaves for use in a Mojito.
But that’s just the start. When you pick up the techniques you can move on to Kamakaze, Grasshopper and Gin Fizz emulsifications or Cuba Libre with spheres of cola floating in white rum. Another cool effect uses gelification to create a layered-look Screwdriver with intermittent tiers of vodka and orange juice.
Once you get the knack, you can let your imagination run rampant and come up with your own cool-looking concoctions. Check out Molecule-R.com for demonstrations videos.
Although Nick Offerman as the jaundiced Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation” proclaims, “This is the wrong way to consume alcohol,” we think the Cocktail R-Evolution people are onto something.