Wednesday, July 29, 2015

:: perfect frozen drinks - science and practice ::

The second talk that I attended on Friday of Tales of the Cocktail was "Perfect Frozen Drinks: Science and Practice" hosted by Dave Arnold and Philip Duff. I preemptively spoke about this talk earlier in the week for serendipitously the theme for this month's Mixology Monday was "Ice, Ice Baby!" as I made a frozen drink in a ziplock bag via the formulas that Dave Arnold provided at the talk as well as in his book Liquid Intelligence. The two started their talk with a timeline of frozen drinks and desserts:
• 400 BC, China: Snow was poured over syrup to make desserts.
• 200 BC, Southeast Persia (Iran): Yakhchal was a large evaporating chamber that utilized shade, seasons, insulation, and other factors to freeze water in the winter and store it through out the year. The ice was utilized in desserts like Faloodeh. These large structures still exist.
• 831, Italy: The Arab invasion of Europe brings advanced science and technology as well as a wide variety of fruit to the region. Along with Toledo, Spain, this part of Italy was a center of technology.
• 1533, France: Italian duchess married to a French duke, Catherine de Medici enticed Giuseppe Ruggeri to bring his ice cream recipe to the French court.
• 1686, Paris: Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli opens Café Procope (still open, oldest restaurant) and first made gelato in his coffee shop and got licensing for it.
• 1718, England: Miss Mary Erles's Receipts had recipes to make ice cream but it took time, staff, money, and leisure to produce it. Still a product for the rich.
• 1744, Pennsylvania: The Oxford English Dictionary in 1877 mentions that strawberry ice cream was enjoyed there.
• 1770, New York: Giovanni Basiolo brought gelato to the New World.
• 1843, New York: First patent for the ice cream freezer; this hand-cranked version still sells today.
• 1885, London: Agnes Marshall wrote The Book of Ices, four books about frozen desserts.
• 1888-1915: Nikola Tesla created the fractional horsepower engine that would later help to run freezers and mixers.
• 1922, Racine, Wisconsin: Stephen Poplawski created the first blender for Hamilton Beach (previously, they had used this technology to create the vibrator in 1910).
• 1937, Wisconsin: Fred Osius and Ted Waring created the Miracle Mixer that later turned into the very reliable Waring Blender.
• 1940s, Havana: Constantino Ribalaigua Vert brought the Waring Blender to Cuba to create the blended drink, the Daiquiri #3.
• 1960s, Coffeyville, Kansas: Omar Knedlik owned a few Dairy Queens and discovered that people liked drinks that were partially frozen. It took 10 years to get the technology right to create the ICEE machine.
• 1965-67: 7-Eleven launched the Slurpee as they bought the technology from Knedlik and could not call it the ICEE.
• 1969, USA: TGI Fridays chain started their fresh fruit frozen "Daiquiri" program.
• 1971, Dallas: Mariano Martinez invented the frozen Margarita machine. There was a clause that forbade the ICEE technology to be used with alcohol, so Martinez tinkered with soft serve ice cream machines.
• 1994: 7-Eleven trademarks the term "brainfreeze."
With the history part covered, the focus shifted to temperature. When things are too cold, they alter the flavor and can switch what aspects are perceptible as well as the overall pleasure associated with the ratios. Moreover, it can be painful with burning people's tongues, and it can affect texture. Texture ends up being a combination of temperature, alcohol percentage, and sugar levels. Alcohol is an antifreeze that prevents things from freezing and makes everything melt much faster. While frozen drinks mimic shaken drinks to some extent, sweetness drops back in frozen drinks and acid is more forward than in a shaken one. Therefore, the shaken recipe needs to be altered to become the frozen drink spec including diluting it more.

Most street Daiquiri machines produce drinks in the 7% ABV range for larger volumes and slower melts, and this alcohol range approximates nonalcoholic drink recipes in terms of physics, flavor, and kinetics. In a bar setting, 14-15% is more optimal since the guests do not want to fill up volume-wise and bars do not want guests to dawdle that long over drinks. However, it is harder to keep a drink solid at this higher alcohol content and harder to stay in balance flavor-wise. As was mentioned in my Mixology Monday frozen drink post, the targets for the finished drink recipe are:
The Golden Rule:
• 14.2-15% ABV
• 85 gram / liter Sugar
• 0.6-0.9% acid (standard lemon/lime is 6%)
• Note: assumes freezer temperature -20°C/4°F
This means that a shaken or stirred drink will not translate the same, and algebra is needed to follow the 3 rules. Once you have the proof and volume of alcohol, then determine the final volume. Next, add sugar amount and acid amount, and the rest is water. In batching, consider that fresh citrus juice will degrade over time. Things like limoncello can cover over that degradation. Acids like citric and malic can be added to adjust the ratios. To boost ABV but not flavor, vodka can be used, and liquor can be sugared up to minimize volumes. Sample recipes can and should be tested in Ziplock bags on a small scale (and these bags can be frozen on salt-ice combinations in the field) to prevent mistakes in large scale balance. Rolling out the air bubbles will promote their stability, and to speed their freezing, do not stack the bags.

In blender drinks, all chilling is at the expense of melting ice. A normal recipe spec will make things too watery in a blender, so adding sugar to the liquor can save space. A generic blender sour recipe is as follows:
Instead of blending, ice shaving machines like Hatsuyuki can be utilized. In a shaved ice drink, chilling and diluting happens in the glass. If you shave into the glass so that it chills and melts down, you can get the right wash line on the drink more frequently.

A final warning was provided against making frozen drinks with barrel-aged spirits, for the process intensifies the wood and tannin notes. Same goes with tea. Also, all of the ice crystals in frozen drinks are water -- not alcohol, not sugar.

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