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Nutrients with a Kick

By New You Editorial
Posted On Jan 26, 2017
Nutrients with a Kick

As cocktail bars take more and more cues from test kitchens, mixologists are adopting the sous vide method to get the most flavor and nutrition from ingredients.

The world’s top bartenders are adopting classic culinary practices to bring new dimension to their cocktail menus. A favorite is the sous vide method, in which foods’ raw nutrients are preserved during cooking, infusing alcohol in record time. Instead of waiting days for the spirit to soak into fruit, sous vide gets it done in a few short hours—nutrients and all.

“A typical infused cocktail takes between 12 and 48 hours to properly infuse,” explains Gabriella Mlynarczyk, head mixologist at Ink restaurant in Los Angeles. “Using sous vide, you have results in less than two hours.” In sous vide—meaning “under vacuum”— ingredients are placed in a special vacuum-sealable bag and submerged in a warm-water bath, which cooks the food slowly and evenly, preserving its integrity. It’s the opposite process to boiling, which causes nutrients to bleed off into the water.

Charles Steadman, owner of Jack’s Grumpy Grouper Bar & Grill in Lantana, Florida, refers to the process as a “Jacuzzi for food.” “It’s fool-proof,” he says. “You get an amazing result because once you get the temperature set, you receive the best infusion in the world.”

Sous vide can be expensive for at-home “cocktail smiths,” as it uses an immersion calculator to heat water and keeps temperatures constant. Arianne Fielder, the head mixologist at Article 14 in Atlanta, Georgia, offers cost-effective alternatives. “A ‘food saver’—or any kind of vacuum sealer for plastic bags that keeps stored foods fresh—is a must to ensure that the vapors of the alcohol do not escape from the infusion or cocktail,” she says. “Without an immersion circulator, I would use a regular pot of hot water with a thermometer set on 55°C, or approximately 120-130°F. If you’re vigilant and watch the temperature, this method works.”

David Boxwill, the head mixologist at Miami’s Bar Crudo, suggests starting with simple sous vide infusions of one ingredient and one spirit. “Go to your nearest local market and pick your favorite fruits, herbs, or berries,” he advises. Fresh ingredients allow at-home bartenders to create a drink specific to their likes, while ensuring that the integrity of those ingredients is never lost in the process.

THE RECIPES

The Sous Vide Bloody Mary
GAZPACHO
4 small tomatoes
1/3 cup red bell pepper
1/3 cup cucumber
¼ cup verjus666_ny_celeb-web-post_liquor-4-374x316
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp xanthan gum
Slice tomato, red pepper, and cucumber into medium-size pieces. Add verjus and lemon juice, place everything together in a vacuum bag, and seal. Cook at 60 degrees Celsius (140? Fahrenheit) for approximately 1 hour in a water bath. Cool down the bag in an ice bath and blend all ingredients together. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Return to blender and add xanthan gum. Blend 10 seconds to thicken. Let this rest for 30 minutes to stabilize texture.

TO ASSEMBLE:
2 ounces gazpacho (above)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp yuzu
1 tsp fresh-ground horseradish
1 tsp Aji Amarillo paste
½ ounce clam juice
1¼ ounce Ketel One vodka
Kosher salt and fresh cracked Black pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a Boston shaker. Add ice and shake. Serve in a tall Collins glass with ice. Garnish, if you’d like, with celery, cucumber, and green olive.
*(Reto von Weissenfluh, Bar Crudo, Miami)

Girl Named Sous
Blueberries and various components of sage, such as rosmaranic acid, are shown to work as a powerful antioxidant. Studies have also shown that sage may increase memory function in the brain.
1½ liters Bulleit Rye whiskey666_ny_celeb-web-post_liquor-2-374x316
½ liters Dolin Blanc vermouth
1 pint blueberries
Handful of fresh sage

½ liters lemon-zest-infused simple syrup
Add ingredients (except syrup) to vacuum-sealed bag and close. Add bag to bath of water and cook at 55 degrees Celsius (148? Fahrenheit) for 48 hours. While still warm, massage bag until berries burst. Fine-strain and chill. Shake 2.5 ounces of sous vide ingredients and ¼-ounce fresh lemon juice with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.
To add lemon-zest syrup, make a 2:1 simple syrup and steep the zest of 4 lemons while still warm. Strain after cooling.
*(Arianne Fielder, Article 14, Atlanta)

Thai Rita
When preparing the grapefruit, peel off the skin but leave as much of the subskin intact as possible, as it contains the highest amount of valuable bioflavonoids and other anti-cancer agents. It also contains immune-boosting vitamins and is known to lower cholesterol. Basil leaves contain essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene, and terpineol—known for their antiinflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
1½ liters reposado tequila
½ liters Cointreau
1 liter lime juice
1 liter agave nectar syrup666_ny_celeb-web-post_liquor-3-374x316
½ liter grapefruit juice
Zest of 2 grapefruits and 6 limes
1 4-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and sliced thin
1 handful of basil leaves, plus 1 to garnish
2 jalapeño peppers, sliced and seeds removed
3 stalks of lemon grass, cut in 4-inch pieces and cracked
Add all ingredients to vacuum-sealed bag and close. Add to bath of hot water set at 55 degrees Celsius (131? Fahrenheit) for 48 hours. Strain cocktail and  refrigerate.
Serve over ice and garnish with a 3 to 4 inch piece of lemongrass and fresh basil leaf.