Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Is Grant Achatz Reading Cocktail Blogs?
Is Grant Achatz—culinary wizard of Aviary, possible best chef in America, would-be molecular cocktail king—reading cocktail blogs?
After I heard he and Craig Schoettler had created something called Old Fashioned in the Rocks, I grew suspicious. The drink places the iconic ingredients of an Old Fashioned (whiskey, water, sugar, bitters) inside an egg-shaped piece of the ice. The orb is created by filling water balloons with water and then putting them in a device called a blast chiller, which causes the outer layer of the water to freeze before the inside, leaving a cavity inside. The drinker will have to crack the ice, like an egg, in order to get at the booze.
No one's done exactly this before, I grant you. But the water-balloon trick has been around for a couple years, blogged first (as far as I know) in 2009 by San Francisco-based cocktail blogger Camper English, and, later, and independently, by yours truly. (I did not know that English had hatched the idea before me until after I blogged about my water balloons.)
I first began freezing water balloons as an inexpensive way of created large, slow-melting, and attractive ice forms to keep sipping drinks like the Old Fashioned and Sazerac cool for a long time. Most haute cocktail bars have a Kold-Draft machine, or one of these pricey items to do this job. And I openly pondered if bars would take up the balloon idea, or if it would be too low class for them. Well, if its' good enough for Grant Achatz...