Steve Mitchell, new head chef at the Three Crowns Restaurant and Inn at Scouthead, shares some cocktail techniques to try at home.
Find out more about the Three Crowns and their menus by visiting their website or by calling them on 0161 624 1766.
I HAVE recently been involved with a cocktail party. While planning the canapés and drinks I started thinking how much the food and drink industry has changed over the last decade.
There is a much more noticeable influence from science and in particular chemistry. The connection has always been there of course, but chefs and cocktail waiters (mixologists) are using different techniques and ingredients to create new dishes and drinks as well as taking a classic idea and giving it a modern twist.
This is being done by using the products that are now more readily available combined with the training on how to use them correctly.
A lot of the applications have been used for a long time in the commercial catering environment for such things as food preservation or to get a sauce or jelly to be a particular consistency.
Now these techniques and products are being used more wide spread throughout the whole hospitality and catering industry.
Some of these commodities you may have possibly heard of or read the name on a food label. Here are a few examples of some products being more widely used: agar agar, aspic, xanthan gum, ultratex, calcium carbonate and dry ice.
An example where some of these products are used is in a process called spherification. This is where you have sodium alginate solution and mix your chosen liquid or puree with calcium carbonate.
You then drop your liquid mix into the sodium solution and little pearl like balls are formed as they fall to the bottom of the container. They look quite a bit like caviar. These balls of liquid then can be added to garnish and flavour your dish or drink.
One drink I have used them for is a Bellini cocktail. Instead of just pouring peach puree into your flute of prosecco, you use the process described above to make little peach flavoured pearls, which you then drop into the glass.
When you sip the drink you get a burst of peach flavour on your tongue. A nice twist on a classic cocktail.