Tinctures, Syrups and Foams…

Of the 79 drinks I’ve got logged as of this writing, 27 call for one or more ingredients that have be made from scratch and in advance. Much as no Jedi’s training is complete before they make their own light saber, it would seem that the “rock star” bartender must prove her or his own worth sooner or later by concocting a cocktail (or two) dependent on a home made ingredient.

As a cook, I’m of course attracted to these particular recipes. I like drinks with lots of esoteric ingredients and I’m always excited to make these, eagerly anticipating the day when I’ll be able to build my first drink using a tincture I made at home. What I don’t like, however, are poorly written instructions which leave out steps, don’t clearly identify ingredients or which are vague about quantities (“a few” or “a handful” in relationship to chilis, being my favorite). Notes someone makes remind him or herself how some infusion was made are not the same as a recipe which can be followed again and again by others. But then again, writing a good recipe is a skill which not even the best chefs possess (which is why cookbooks must be carefully proofed or even ghost written). Net/net: I am working with Ted and our crew of star bartenders to make sure everything is clear as it can be before we go to print and you start making these drinks.

OK, enough ranting. Below is the list of things I’m going to be making for the cocktails in this book. I’ve already got most of the “long lead” items done or soaking. Some things, of course, can only be make fresh, an hour or more before they are needed at best.

And then there’s the smoked ice. Hickory smoked ice.

Basil Foam
Cardamom Tincture
Celery Juice
Chili Tincture
Cinnamon Tincture
Costus Root Bitters
Demerara Syrup
Dried Apricot Pisco
Dried Chili Infused Orange Bitters
Fig Puree
Hibiscus-infused Vodka
Honey Syrups (five strengths)
House Chocolate Liquor
Kumquat Marmalade
Jasmine Syrup
Lavender Syrup
Lime/Whey Mixture
Lime-Thai Chili Tincture
Maple Syrup Gastrique
Pear Foam
Prickly Pear Juice
Simple Syrup
Smoked Cider Air
Smoked Ice
Strawberry-Infused Tequila

LCL Tinctures


5 Responses to “Tinctures, Syrups and Foams…”

  1. I am curious… What is “smoked cider air” ?

  2. Mr. Manhattan Says:

    A “foam” made from apple cider and liquid smoke. It’s an ingredient in a cocktail created by Dan Hyatt @ Alembic in SF called “Still Life with Apples, After Cezanne”. I’m also making a maple syrup gastrique for this one.

  3. Thanks! I’m a bit of a newbie at cocktail making. I made a homemade grenadine to start (which was a big improvement for my drinks) and a few weeks ago a lychee grenadine for lychee cocktails we served at our Chinese New Year party. Those were a big hit.
    What do you plan to do for a maple syrup gastrique? I usually associated a gastrique as a sauce for food, with a savory and tart acid component. As you reduce the maple syrup do you add an acid? Or is it basically a reduction?

  4. Mr. Manhattan Says:

    @jerryc123: Gastrique, in the form of its more rustic cousin, the shrubb, has been used in mixed drinks for a long time. In fact there’s a recipe for shrubb in Jerry Thomas’ “Bon Vivant’s Companion.” Jamie Boudreau contributed a shrubb-based cocktail to the first edition of Left Coast Libations called Clarke’s Conundrum. Check it out.

    In the case of the maple syrup gastrique, the recipe uses apple cider vinegar and maple syrup, in a ratio of 2:1, steeped with cinnamon, clove and black peppercorns. There’s no reduction at all. I would hazard a guess that “Still Life with Apples, After Cezanne” will be quite interesting, offering layers of sweet, smoky, tart, bourbon-y flavor.

  5. Thanks for the info. I read Boudreau’s posting and learned something new. Please report back about the “Still Life..” Sweet, smoky, tart, bourbon is what I’m all over!

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