Hot Infusion

So what is a Coffee Siphon?

As the pictures may suggest, this looks like a complex piece of scientific lab equipment. Thankfully though, it’s a pretty commonplace piece of kitchenware used in hundreds if not thousands of coffee shops, homes and bars around the world. It was created back in the 1830’s by a German manufacturer called Loeff. The primary material is borosilicate glass which has excellent thermal-expansion properties (or lack thereof) which allows it to resist rapid temperature changes without breaking. This makes it perfect for boiling and cooling liquids for the purpose of some crazy cocktails!

Although the principle use of this equipment is to make a coffee on a par with what you can buy in cafes, bartenders soon saw the value of the tool as a way to infuse some theatre into the bar experience. Especially with bars such as the @Aviary in Chicago blazing the trail with their “Rooibos” cocktail, the @Alchemist with the “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” and many more notable examples, their use has become much more widespread. We have yet to see someone incorporate the coffee-brewing process whilst creating their cocktail but… watch this space!

In terms of the procedure we’ve included an excellent video from @Molecular Gastronomy explaining the process and a basic Gin cocktail: http://bit.ly/Coffee-Siphon. We’ve outlined the process briefly below for you to follow as well.

Firstly, the bottom chamber (shaped like a bulb) is filled with the liquid elements of the cocktail and the upper chamber (cylinder) is filled with the solid ingredients used to infuse and impart flavour.The two parts are then pushed together to create a seal and held on the provided clamp-stand. This seal is important for the apparatus to work properly – more on this later!

The two parts are then pushed together to create a seal and held on the provided clamp-stand. This seal is important for the apparatus to work properly – more on this later!A small burner or halogen heater is applied to the bottom vessel and gradually warms the water and air inside the chamber – it’s actually the air that creates this ‘vacuum’ effect (in fact it’s a pressure rather than any suction). As the water warms and vapours start to evaporate, this increases the pressure in the chamber which in turn forces the liquid up the central tube and into the upper cylinder. As long as the heat stays constant the liquid will stay up there, although you risk burning the vapours in the lower chamber, which will leave scorch marks on the inside of the glass. These are very difficult to clean off and will leave your glassware looking dirty.

A small burner or halogen heater is applied to the bottom vessel and gradually warms the water and air inside the chamber – it’s actually the air that creates this ‘vacuum’ effect (in fact it’s a pressure rather than any suction). As the water warms and vapours start to evaporate, this increases the pressure in the chamber which in turn forces the liquid up the central tube and into the upper cylinder. As long as the heat stays constant the liquid will stay up there, although you risk burning the vapours in the lower chamber, which will leave scorch marks on the inside of the glass. These are very difficult to clean off and will leave your glassware looking dirty.Generally, once the liquid is in the upper chamber and the heat is removed there’ll be 1-2 mins for the flavours to infuse. This is usually long enough given that the liquid element is quite hot. Slowly the now-infused cocktail will start to return into the lower vessel and the equipment can be disassembled leaving the lower chamber in the clamp-stand, this can be poured into your choice of drinking vessel.

Generally, once the liquid is in the upper chamber and the heat is removed there’ll be 1-2 mins for the flavours to infuse. This is usually long enough given that the liquid element is quite hot. Slowly the now-infused cocktail will start to return into the lower vessel and the equipment can be disassembled leaving the lower chamber in the clamp-stand, this can be poured into your choice of drinking vessel.Given that the cocktail is still very warm at this point the options are to serve it as a ‘tea based’ cocktail in crockery, which fits the context of a warm drink; to serve over crushed ice (bad idea as it waters down quickly); or over dry ice, which cools without dilution.

Given that the cocktail is still very warm at this point the options are to serve it as a ‘tea based’ cocktail in crockery, which fits the context of a warm drink; to serve over crushed ice (bad idea as it waters down quickly); or over dry ice, which cools without dilution.
We had some specially designed JetChill Cocktail Glasses printed to reflect the elements of our cocktail (recipe below), which you can see in the cover image of this article. It even won our in-house Cocktail Consultant a trip to Amsterdam with @Sloane’s Gin.

The key judging points were the theatre of the cocktail: as the warm liquid created a large vapour cloud of CO2 as it hit the dry-ice, which also served to carry some of the flavour elements, enveloping the drinker in the floral gin notes. As well as being theatrical, the dry-ice cools the cocktail without any dilution which means it’s cold enough to serve over crushed ice if required or can be drunk directly from the JetChill Glass at a cool temperature. With some artful flaming of the blow-torch there really are few cocktails that can compete on theatrical preparation. All we can say is…don’t try this at home unless you’re a professional!

With the versatility of this serve you can also create cocktails with other spirits including this one called ‘Angel Falls’ using Ron Diplomatico.

Recipe:

(Per Person – Serves Two)

Liquids – Bottom:

50ml Sipsmith Gin

25ml Artesian Spring Water

25ml Rubicon Passionfruit Juice

Dash Monin Blood Orange

Infusion – Top:

1 Bag Twinings Lady Grey Tea

Half Passionfruit

3 Lemon Wedges

Small Handful of Mint

Serve in charged JetChill Dry-Ice glass

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