Small, chef-owned operations have an easier time executing culinary cocktails. Chain operations have the added challenge of more limited bartender skill and greater time constraints. But by working with master mixologists to create cocktail recipes built with fresh infused syrups, or fresh-daily made pre-mixes, “We tend to build the complexity of our drinks into the prep before the shift,” says Ryan Valentine, director of beverage for Columbus-based Cameron Mitchell.
“For example, for our Tequila cocktail, we include complexity in the spiced syrup—made by infusing agave nectar with fresh ginger, star anise pods, vanilla and cinnamon. This is all done on the stove before service. When it comes time to build the cocktail the agave nectar is only one ingredient but has the complexity of four.”
Similarly, the Bollywood cocktail Kathy Casey, president of Seattle-based Kathy Casey Food Studios – Liquid Kitchen designed for the Chameleon Club at the Abu Dhabi Fairmont in the United Arab Emirates, includes a pre-mix of curry-spiced simple syrup with lime and pineapple juice. While she can’t disclose which ones, Casey, says that there are several large national chains who are currently working toward more craft and culinary cocktails the same way. “You can make the same great cocktail for 400 that you make for one,” says Casey. The key—if it has a ton of ingredients—is combining them into a fresh-made pre-mix.”
The Cocktail Recipes
Makes one cocktail:
2 large sprigs fresh mint
1 1/2 oz. Tanqueray Ten gin
2 oz. Bollywood Pre- Mix (see recipe below)
Coconut Rose Foam (see recipe below), for garnish
Edible gold flakes, for garnish
Tear mint and drop mint into pint glass. Measure in gin and Bollywood Pre-Mix.
Fill with ice. Cap and shake vigorously. Strain into large Martini glass.
Top with a pouf of Coconut Rose Foam and garnish with sprinkle of gold.
Bollywood Pre Mix:
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/2 to1 Tbsp. good curry powder
3 cups fresh squeezed lime juice
2 cups fresh squeezed pineapple juice
Combine sugar, water and curry in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes. Then strain syrup and discard any solids. After syrup has cooled stir in lime and pineapple juices. Place pre mix into a clean bottle store refrigerated.
Coconut Rose Foam with Coconut Milk
Makes 1 canister of foam
1 1/2 sheets gelatin
3 oz. Monin Rose Syrup
2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 oz. water
3 oz. simple syrup
8 oz. coconut milk (canned unsweetened)
Place the gelatin sheets in a bowl of ice water and soak them until they are soft for about 10 minutes.
Combine the rose syrup, lemon juice, water and simple syrup. Strain the ingredients through a fine strainer into a small saucepan. Remove gelatin from ice water and squeeze out excess water and then add it to the pan of liquid. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat just until gelatin is dissolved and immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. Do not boil. Stir in coconut milk and let it cool about ten minutes.
Pour the mixture into whip cream canisters. Charge with 2 – N2O charger cartridges – and immediately shake well and refrigerate at least four hours or overnight. Shake well upside down before discharging foam onto cocktail. Store in refrigerator for up to five days.