This is a quick photographic tour of my Modernist Cocktail Home Bar aka ‘the kitchen’.
Firstly the standard stuff! The (main) liquor cabinet now fills three shelves and it’s only a matter of time before the fourth shelf falls. In addition there are several other depositaries for additional bottles…
My glassware collection, or rather most of it. I took this photo just after a session so there’s a fair amount in the queue for washing. Living in Vietnam, great glassware (at reasonable cost…) isn’t so easy to come across and they tend to be functional rather than delightful. That said, amongst my collection are a number of hand-carried glasses from the US including some great vintage ones acquired from the collection of my wife’s grandfather who had a bar/restaurant in the 1920/30s.
You spin me right round, baby, right round…
The jewel in my Modernist Cocktail Home Bar crown! This is a Chinese made 2 litre centrifuge that can pull 3,220G going at 4,000RPM. It’s at the lower end of what’s useful for cocktail work it’s more than adequate as far as a ‘My First Centrifuge’ and excellent value with the added bonus that because it was bought new I didn’t need to “bleach out the rabies” as Dave Arnold would say about second hand machines that have often been used for blood work. No-one wants prions in their cocktails…
Ice, ice, baby
A 10 litre liquid nitrogen dewar from International Cryogenics that I picked up on eBay for less than half price brand new because it had some minor cosmetic damage to the paint near the top. An interesting piece of luggage for international travel…
Another eBay bargain! One of two Kryogenifex double-walled glass bar top dewars which hold around 4 litres a piece. They appear to be rebadged Pope dewars. These are perfect for service during parties as long as you can put them somewhere far enough out of reach of inquisitive guests who’ve consumed one too many.
Getting busy with the fizzy
Carbonation rig – Vietnam style! An old CO2 fire extinguisher serves as the gas tank for my fizzy business.
Happiness is a warm bath
One of my two immersion circulators used for doing infusions and making various syrups, not to mention keeping whipping siphons warm for drinks with hot foams like my Passion Hot / Passion Not. This is a Nomiku and the other one I have is a Sansaire though that only comes out when I need both in use as the Nomiku is much smaller, easier to use and sexier.
Measure twice, cut once
From the top: One of two micropipettes I have. This is 2-20 microns for use with essential oils and I have a cheaper fixed 1000 microns that I use mainly for dosing juice with Pectinex before it goes for a ride in the centrifuge to save weighing it out.
In the middle is my Milwaukee Refractometer for measuring Brix. Very handy since I got the centrifuge as now working a lot more with fresh juice which can vary wildly in it’s sugar content depending on the source of the fruit supply and the season. Once you know how much sugar your juice contains it’s easier to make good decisions about how to use it in a drink.
At the bottom is a new precision scale that measures to an accuracy of 0.001g (a microgram). I have several scales but decides to add a decimal point of accuracy as expecting a delivery of Quinine Sulphate shortly so I can start making tonic water in my Modernist Cocktail Home Bar. As Quinine Sulphate is poisonous in not very large quantities it would be nice not to be responsible for killing either myself or any of my guests and the best way to be sure is to work very strictly and methodically. Safety first!
Fragrant disregard for the law
My collection of essential oils and hydrosols. This is a new area for me and I have a lot to learn. It’s imperative that only food grade oils are used from reputable sources and do not contain any sketchy solvents like hexane, that can often be found in oils not designed for ingestion. I get all my oils from Mandy Aftel at aftelier.com and Laurent Severac from Amorasia, who has a 15 acre organic plantation in the North of Vietnam on the border near Laos. He collects rare plants from the jungle and grows them using sustainable methods and then distills his own oils both for aromatherapy and also a range for cooking and cocktails. The green coriander seed essential oil, made from fresh rather than dry seeds is particularly amazing. Laurent also makes a ‘vertically integrated range of oils from the pomelo tree – separate oils made from the bark, leaves and flowers of the same trees. Incroyable! He recently gave me a few samples of hydrosols to play with which should be easier to incorporate into a cocktail than oils which require to be either dissolved into high proof alcohol which can then be spritzed on the glass or the surface of the drink, or dispersed into fat. It works well with a butter syrup stabilised with gum arabic but I haven’t tried any other applications yet. I also plan to try airs using lecithin…
Powders and potions
My collection of bitters, home made tinctures, acids and oils. I try to keep it contained in the cabinet but it constantly manages to escape…
My library of hydrocolloids used for thickening, spherification, emulsification and all that jazz…and some orchids and the crocodile nosed tip of a Papua New Guinean canoe which serves as a fruit bowl…
And everything else!
The dumping ground for siphons, punchbowls, bottle cappers, bottles for carbonation, gas cartridges, blow torch & Searzall, canning gear, dried flowers, bark, cacao nibs and everything else that doesn’t have a home.
Hope you enjoyed!