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When the alcohol fades but leaves your spirit

At El Celler de Can Roca they started doing it more than a decade ago: with a laboratory rotary evaporator, the Roca brothers captured the volatile aromas of food to extract its essence and thus, in a different way, present it to their diners. And for a couple of years, at the Catalan restaurant Enjoy (number 2 in the world) diners can opt for the “non-alcoholized pairing”, a selection of wines that costs a little more than the conventional liquid accompaniment, but that is what it is: wine from which almost all of the alcohol has been extracted, but which maintains its organoleptic characteristics intact.

This is how the culinary world moved from Rotaval to Girovap, a utensil whose use today extends in cooking, pastry and mixology, since among other things it allows distillation and redistillation, in addition to extracting aromas from drinks and foods at low temperatures. A tool that in the field of liquid gastronomy also found an interesting space for experimentation. After a time of experimentation, Mater Líquidos, the program that develops drinks from the point of view of ecosystems and environment for restaurants CentralKjolle and Milincorporates seaweed distillates and others in the restaurant pairings at Casa Túpac.

“We use our coastal distillate (Coastal Hills) as an alcoholic base and we redistill it in the Girovap: I take various algae that we get in our environment, such as yuyo, sargassum, codium and sea lettuce, I vacuum seal them with our Coastal Hills, and I take them at a controlled temperature for four hours,” he explains. Diego Villagran, in charge of the creative beverage part of Casa Túpac. In coordinated work with the sommelier Diego Vasquezthe first moment of the Central menu is served: the step associated with the ecosystem under the sea is paired with this drink that, due to its aromas and flavors, imaginarily transports you to the Pacific, because it is made from the aforementioned distillate plus coastal cucumber, sea salt. sea ​​and codium oil.

For the new pairing in kjolle This resource is also used. “We are working on a high-altitude mead, brought from Andahuaylas: we are going to distill this single ingredient to be able to remove the alcohol and be left with a slightly sweet, acidic and very aromatic concentrate at the same time with all the unique notes of the mead, but without alcohol. ”, details Villagrán. At the table, the diner receives a drink with this ingredient, but carbonated using a siphon with loads of Co2.

Vacuum transformation

From the El Celler experiments until today, everyone goes through a stage of trial and error in the use of new culinary technology. Mitsuharu Tsumura, chef at Maido, explains that the difference between Rotaval and Girovap is that the latter distills working in a vacuum. “It is an excellent distiller and concentrator of flavors. You can set the vacuum pressure (in bars) that you require. Therefore, even though the temperatures are low, a much lower boiling point is generated (there are liquids that can boil at 40°).”

At Maido, the function of the device is to generate a non-alcoholic pairing experience using spirits, beers and sakes, which, when redistilled under vacuum, allow the organoleptic properties of the product to be maintained, in the nose and mouth. Of course, everything remains except the alcohol. “Our non-alcoholic pairings are not juices or extracts, but rather cocktails with drinks from which the alcohol has been removed. It’s wonderful for mocktails. And in the case of beer – the chef clarifies – the gas is lost, that’s why we gasify it again.” This trend in Maido It has caught on a lot, to the point that every day more people request this type of pairing.

More expensive, but healthy

For the mixologist Luis ‘Chino’ Flores, the trend to dealcoholize wines and spirits has clear reasons: “Associated with alcohol consumption, it is a trend that responds to the demand for healthier and lighter options, for more responsible consumption. But [al usar esta técnica] We must consider that the flavor should not be lost (because removing alcohol changes the drink) and that de-alcoholizing has a higher cost”, due to the process it entails, of course.

But where did this bar trend start? Diego Macedomixologist owner of Sastrería Martínez, cites the chefs of Enjoy, on the subject of wines, but in cocktails he refers to Marc Alvarez (former bar manager of the Catalan group elBarri of the Ferrán brothers and Albert Adria) and Simone Caporale (the Italian who triumphed in London leading the Artesian bar, considered for years the best in the world). The renowned mixologists who opened Sips in Barcelona a couple of years ago apply this and other modern techniques in their menu.

TO Martinez Tailoring The new utensil arrived at the beginning of the year, and the result of its experiments is hidden in the bottles that have a red ribbon and can be seen in the “Uncooked” section of their cocktail menu. Amaretto was the first liquor they dealcoholized and is the base for a sour that explodes with almond aromas. They also have a Tempranillo Rioja wine that they serve by the glass; an Americano, based on Campari and Cinzano 1757 vermouth de-alcoholized at home, and camu camu and aguaymanto soda; and the Bamboo, also with vermouth and Fino Tio Pepe 0.0. “In this way, people who do not drink alcohol no longer feel excluded in a meeting because just add a soda and the drink is perceived as any cocktail,” says Macedo.

Alchemists as they are, the Sastrería Martínez team takes turns doing new tests. They also use hydrosols, extracts obtained after distilling fresh herbs with steam. “We have lemon verbena hydrosol, which is like an essence. And we also have a muña tincture, to which a neutral alcohol is added and an alcoholic essence comes out with the flavor of that herb,” says the mixologist.

But the trend is growing and with it the offer as well. Zero alcohol liquors are already found on the shelves of European supermarkets, such as the ‘alcohol free’ version of Tanqueray 0.0, while companies such as Lyre’s, founded in the United Kingdom in 2019, already have a wide catalog of non-alcoholic drinks to satisfy tastes. of a niche that could be in rapid growth.

Source: Elcomercio

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