The French technique of cooking food slowly in a warm water bath is not new. In fact, sous vide has been around since the early 18th century. For a long time, it was reserved for exclusive and high-end cooking and remained relatively unknown in the consumer world.
In the last few years, however, it’s gone from being a well-known cooking technique in the hobbyist and professional chef communities to a being a food tech darling. Startups like ChefSteps, Anova and Nomiku have all worked to bring sous vide to the masses at affordable prices with recipes that feel accessible.
But whenever you hear about sous vide, whether in an online review or story or on a panel, you hear people talking about cooking steak. Fish. Chicken. Sometimes vegetables. But cocktails? Preparing the newest libation isn’t synonymous with a sous vide machine, but Tasting Table is profiling some chefs that are using the warm water bath technique to create some delicious concoctions.
So how do they do it – and why? A good cocktail has an array of vibrant flavors – from fruits to herbs and spices to fragrances, there’s a lot that goes into crafting the perfect drink. Sous vide can be an excellent way, it turns out, to infuse several flavors into a liquid in preparation for turning it into a cocktail later on.
One restaurant in Santa Monica, California that’s known for its beverage menu uses sous vide in several ways to create delicious liquid flavors to include in their drinks. Tasting Table explains the process,
“For his Rome with a View, he sous-vides a mixture of blood orange peels, blood orange juice, sugar and black pepper pods at 150 degrees for two hours; the sugar and the juice slowly draw oil out of the peel, which in turn infuse with the black pepper.”
The slow infusion of flavors into the liquid is what gives these bartenders the edge; it would be impossible to recreate that type of complexity just with muddling or shaking. Another bar in Brooklyn is using a variety of lemon flavors via a sous vide infusion to recreate a cocktail that probably comes with a stigma in hipster bars – the Cosmo.
Sous vide clearly isn’t going anywhere, and the creative ways to use the machine will only attract more curious home chefs who want to recreate delicious meals and drinks in their own kitchens.
To read about the rest of the delicious cocktails being cooked up with sous vide, check out the Tasting Table piece.