Wow, your home bar has really hit its stride. You handle that jigger like a pro. You know when to use your julep strainer as opposed to the Hawthorne. And thanks to your handy juicer, your cocktails could not be any fresher. Now that you’re slinging perfect Manhattans and Whiskey Sours, it’s time for the new tool to take your home bar to infinity and beyond: an iSi whipper.
Not just for dessert, bartenders have been playing around with this whipped cream maker and its nitro-infusion capabilities to make everything from rapid infusions to custom foams and toppings. The concept of the affordable iSi whipper (~$100) is fairly simple, it’s a steel vessel that allow pressures through the valve on the screw on top. Carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide (yes, laughing gas) are used for separate purposes (carbon dioxide for carbonation and nitrous oxide for whipped cream and infusions).
What’s the difference between infusing with nitrogen and the more traditional method for infusions? According to Dave Arnold, author of Liquid Intelligence, not too much. Obviously, time is essential. A nitrogen infusion will take minutes as opposed to the traditional method that can take days or even weeks to reach the same result. As far as flavor goes, a rapid infusion will extract less bitter, spicy and tannic notes. Arnold suggests the rapid method if you’re dealing with ingredients like jalapeño, cocoa nibs or anything else that has strong flavors.
Enough with the formalities already, let’s jump into what this thing can do for you.
1. Rapid Booze Infusion
As mentioned, iSi whipper can save you a massive amount of time for infusing your alcohols. Be sure to read the instructions carefully and pick up some nitrous chargers. Arnold makes some great recommendations for infusions, including turmeric gin, lemongrass vodka and coffee rum. Here, we infused cherry tomatoes and tequila for a savory spin on a Margarita.
- 2 oz Cherry-tomato tequila*
- ½ oz Orange liqueur
- 1 oz Lime juice
- ½ oz Agave nectar
- Cherry or Grape Tomatoes for garnish
Glass: Margarita or rocks glass
Garnish: Salt rim and cherry/grape tomatoes
Rim a glass with lime juice and dip into a plate of salt to add a rim. Place the glass aside for the salt to harden. Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker. Include ice and shake well. Strain into a glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish and serve.
- 1 pint Cherry tomatoes
- 1 750 ml bottle Tequila (suggested: reposado)
Combine ingredients in whipper. Charge with one nitrous oxide charger, shake and then repeat with a second charger. Vent, allow bubbling to stop, then strain into a bottle or jar.
2. Special Simple Syrups, Foam, Bitters
Infusions aren’t limited to booze. The iSi whipper can personalize your simple syrups, creams, foams, shrubs and even create bitters absurdly quickly. The process for making a simple syrup is the same as infusing booze. So once you have that down, you’re set for an experimentation marathon. To give a twist on the Daiquiri, try a banana simple syrup.
- 1.5 oz Light rum
- .75 oz Vanilla-banana simple syrup*
- .75 Lime juice
Garnish: Lime wheel
Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish and serve.
*Vanilla-Banana Simple Syrup
Combine ingredients in whipper. Charge with one nitrous oxide charger, shake and then repeat with a second charger. Vent and allow bubbling to stop and strain into a bottle or jar.
3. Bubbly on Demand
There’s nothing wrong with a little carbonation, so why not make it at home? For this, you’ll need to swap your nitrous for some carbon dioxide and take a trip to the grocery store for ingredients but, again, the process is the same. If you make this a habit, your Gin & Tonics—and your bank account—will thank you.