Have you heard or tried molecular drinks? This concept has been known out there for about ten years and has been arriving in Brazil, little by little, since 2008. The idea is to develop drinks with very different textures and appearances. With some techniques, from molecular gastronomy – science dedicated to the study of chemical and physical processes related to cooking – you can make a cachaa noodle, for example, or even a mango foam.
According to Gabriel Gaiarsa, one of the members of the Lab, a bar specialized in the technique, the idea of molecular mixology is to change the structure of the ingredients to make them more fun. “I believe that molecular mixology is not pretentious and it is not an art like molecular gastronomy. It is just a way of making playful drinks”, he comments. At Gabriel’s bar it is possible to taste a B52 – bacon-shaped liquor spindle. Yes, the drink can be tasted on a spoon and has a texture that resembles an English cake.
Other famous drinks at the house are Pia Colada foam and capirinha spaghetti. There is also Sex on The Beach in the shape of a sphere and caviar, which takes orange juice, vodka and peach juice. “At the Lab, we opted for well-known recipes and adapted them to a more fun format that matches the relaxed atmosphere of the night,” he says.
According to Beto Ferreira, mixologist at Officinatres, a company specialized in hospitality conceptualization projects, there are three basic techniques to start playing with drinks: gelation, emulsification and spherification. Gelation and spherification allow the ingredient to remain in a defined shape even if it reaches 80 degrees celsius. With this technique, you can make spaghetti and yolks and fake caviars from any liquid. With emulsification, the liquid becomes a kind of sauce. “Emulsification like a cream that never returns to its normal state, already spherifies a kind of bubble that breaks up in the mouth”, he says.
In some techniques, according to Beto, the drink slightly loses its alcohol content. Only in gelation is there a higher concentration of alcohol. However, this is not seen as something negative, since, in most cases, the decrease in alcohol softens the drink. “I like to create smooth recipes precisely because it is an experience and not to traumatize the client’s palate. But it is also possible to create more aggressive drinks”, he explains.
The mixologist says that the techniques use hydrocolloids (Protein or complex carbohydrate – polysaccharide) that have the capacity to absorb water, causing the formation of gels or the thickening of a liquid or liquid product. They are a kind of “spices” added to the ingredients responsible for transforming their structure. There are also liquids like calcium chloride, which serve to bathe the drink and finish the texture. All of these elements can be purchased at sites specialized in molecular gastronomyas they are produced only for use in cooking. “The molecular gastronomy that discovered all of this, the molecular mixology just took over the techniques. We buy an exclusive product line and create our drinks”, he points out.
The expression “molecular gastronomy” was created in 1988 by the physicist Nicholas Kurti, from Oxford University, and the qumicofrancsHerv This. Acinciase is dedicated to the study of the chemical-physical processes related to cooking, studying the mechanisms involved in the transformation of ingredients in cooking.
For those interested, there are courses that teach from basic, that you can play at home with friends, even the professional ones. Clicking on here and on here, you find two course options. And for those who want to try these delicacies, click on here to know some bars that bring these techniques to the menu.
See below an image gallery with some molecular drinks.