Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Evan Zimmerman and Banana Consomme

I was recently in Portland for a the Great American Distillers Festival where the highlight was clearly the Oregon Bartender's Guild's cocktail competition...and not just because I was judging.

This was a massive undertaking over the course of 2 days with some incredible work by all involved (with the exception of the alcohol control Nazis.) My new friend Evan Zimmerman (the winner by the way) really blew me away with a banana consomme that he brought as a homemade ingredient. I asked him to share his technique and here is what he sent back. I think you will agree, he is one cool cat.

It's actually become a pretty common technique with chefs and shit. It's called freeze filtering and it involves adding a very small amount of gelatin to a cloudy liquid, freezing it, and then thawing it slowly in a fridge so the gelatin doesn't melt but the clear flavorful liquid can drip through. If you google freeze filtering you can probably find a great article written by Harold McGee for the New York Times from a few years ago. So basically what I did was purée a half dozen bananas with about 3 cups of water. I added a tiny amount of citric acid to preserve color and pushed everything through a chinois. I ended up with a liter of liquid and added to that .5% gelatin by volume (5 grams, 2 bloomed sheets of gelatin) by heating up about a cup of the banana liquid and melting the gelatin into it then stirring that liquid back into the rest of the mixture. Then I poured the whole business into a 6 pan and froze it overnight. The next day I took it out of the pan, wrapped the block in cheesecloth and put it in a perf pan over another 6 pan to collect the consommé. Put that whole thing in the walk-in and let it thaw for a day or two and the liquid slowly dripped out as the gelatin trapped all the particulates in the cheeseloth. It takes some time and the yeild isn't great, but you end up with a hunk of gelatin banana goo up top and clear banana consommé below. Recipe was 1.5 oz. Rye, 1.5 oz. Banana consommé and 4 drops of clove tincture. I've used the technique for all sorts of stuff as it allows you to make stirred drunks that contain traditionally opaque ingredients. Lime juice was a lot of fun for stirred Gimlets and Last Words as it creates a more lush and elegant texture in drinks that are usually shaken.


Mr. Manhattan said...

I wonder how this would compare with simply putting the original (ungelatined) mixture through a Buchner filter?

jennifer colliau said...

That is dead cool.