By Simon McGoram
Presented by Thomas Iacavone, Palmerr & Co
Photography by Rob Palmer
You have six packs of cream charges, a cream canister, a load of fresh berries and all sorts of party supplies like balloons and cocktail parasols. You make a note to ignore the knowing looks you get from the barely post-pubescent checkout guy. Rapid infusions are a bona fide cocktail making technique you remind yourself. And it’s going to be one hell of a party.
The team at Bartender HQ were playing around with cream canisters before Sydney Bar Week. Note, we weren’t doing nangs, but rather exploring the idea of infusing spirits in a cream canister under pressure. It was when Perryn Collier, from Brisbane’s The Laneway, used this technique on stage at the Bartender of the Year final that we realised we should take a closer look at it.
The process, as it turns out, is simple. Fill a cream canister with your desired spirit and the fresh ingredients you wish to infuse. Once sealed and charged the spirit in the canister will take on the flavour of the ingredients within minutes due to the pressure created by the gas cartridge forcing the spirit into the fruit or herbs used.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is used to whip cream because when the pressure is released from a canister, the dissolved gas turns to bubbles and comes out of the solution rapidly whipping the cream. The cream needs to be at least 28 per cent fat for this to take effect. This is why liquids like spirits don’t release the dissolved N2O as they would carbon dioxide if a soda siphon was used. There will still be a very mild ‘carbonisation’ but this will dissipate in less that a minute.
Infusions of this sort, despite being very quick to create have several distinct advantages. Without any application of heat or prolonged steeping in the spirit fresher more volatile flavours and aromas are maintained without developing any ‘cooked’ characteristics. Fresh ingredients work best with this technique – aromatic herbs and berries in particular can develop striking results.
The applications of this technique are endless. With cream canisters going up to one litre in size you could infuse a whole bottle before service everyday if you wished – using whatever ingredients are best at the markets. Have a play, have some fun – who knew that N2O could be so entertaining?
Schiedam Berry Cobbler
120ml Ketel One Citroen
20ml sugar syrup
Adapted from a recipe by Perryn Collier, The Laneway, Brisbane