Tag Archives: liquid intelligence

Clarified Gin and Juice

This is part of my series of recipes from Liquid Intelligence. I’m going to make all of them, which you can see here.

One of Dave Arnold’s recipes I’ve been making for awhile is the Gin and Juice. I was able to find videos of it on the web, and piece together the process from his podcast. But there’s a recipe for it in Liquid Intelligence so I thought I’d make it for my family Christmas party. Apologies in advance for my worse-than-usual photography, but I was batching two cocktails and getting ready for a party.

This recipe isn’t particularly difficult, and is a great introduction to clarification. You can do it a few ways. If you don’t care about yield and just want a fast, easy product, you can use Pectinex/Chitosan/Keiselsol clarification (more on that later) and just wait a few hours for the solids to separate. Your yield is relatively low though without a centrifuge, on the order of 50-75%.

If you don’t mind waiting a bit longer, agar clarification is the way to go. That’s what Dave recommends, so for this post that’s what I did. It’s not that much more labor than the Pectinex/fining I mentioned, and the yield is much higher. I think I got over 90%. You’ll see my picture of the solids raft left at the end, that was all that didn’t make it, and some of that was agar.

Here’s the process:

Step 1: Juice the grapefruit.

I can’t remember how many I used, but it was most of a bag from Sam’s Club. (Sorry, I’m in Akron, we don’t have Costco yet.) I ended up with about a liter and a half.

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Step 2: Hydrate the agar

Divide the grapefruit, 75% in one batch (assuming it’s room temperature) that you’ll set aside, and 25% in another, that you’ll put into a pan. In my case,  I set 1.1 liters aside, and put 400 liters in the pan.

Measure out agar to 2g per liter, so in this case I used 3g. (I use Telephone brand packets. I ran out of this packet and had to go to the Asian market, all for 0.4 grams!)

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Whisk it vigorously into the small portion of juice. Place the pan on the stove, turn the heat to high and let it come to a boil, whisking frequently.

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When it boils, put a lid on the pan, drop the heat, and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Step 3: Temper the juice and set.

Pour the room temperature juice into the hot stuff, stirring vigorously. You want to avoid the mix gelling at all, which might happen if you did it the other way around, or didn’t boil enough of the juice.

Pour into a bowl and set over an ice bath to chill. Don’t agitate it at all. No stirring. Just wait for it to gel all the way through.

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Step 4: Freeze

Place the bowl into the freezer, and let sit overnight.

Step 5: Thaw

Place the frozen brick of agar in a strainer and let the liquid drip through. It starts off like this:


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and ends like this:

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Step 6: Filter

I ran what was left of the juice through a Chemex to suck up a little bit of particulate matter that got through.

Step 7: Mix ingredients and chill

I mixed up enough of Dave’s recipe to make about 1.65 liters, since I was carbonating in a 2 liter bottle. That worked out to a batch of ten. The recipe is:

590ml gin

800ml agar-clarified grapefruit juice

220ml water

40ml simple syrup

20 drops saline solution

I funneled them all into a 2 liter bottle, and put the bottle in the freezer. I shook it every 15 minutes or so, so it would chill evenly, and had to be careful to pull it out before it froze (the ABV is low enough that I think it would).

When it was ice cold, I carbonated with my homebrew rig.

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Step 8: Play Snoop Dogg on radio and pour into champagne flute

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Make sure to have your mind on your money, and your money on your mind.

Clear Ice

This is the second part of my series of recipes from Liquid Intelligence. I’m going to make all of them, which you can see here.

In Liquid Intelligence, Dave Arnold explains how to make clear ice. What makes ice cloudy is solids and gasses dissolved in the water. As an ice cube freezes, the water freezes into crystals first, forcing solutes away from the new ice crystals. Because the ice in a normal freezer is freezing from the outside in, those solids are forced toward and concentrated in the center of the cube.

The solution is to do what an ice sculpture machine does and freeze from one direction to the other. The easiest way to do that at home is via insulation. Put your water in a cooler, and leave it in your freezer with the lid open, and it will freeze much faster from the top than from the sides and bottom.

So I bought a small 10 quart cooler from Amazon. You’re supposed to load it with hot water, since hot water has fewer gasses in solution. You want to let it drop in temperature as much as possible before putting it in the freezer, otherwise you’ll get a ton of condensation from the evaporating hot water on everything else. Figuring it would take a year for the hot water to cool in the insulated cooler, I put the hot water in a stockpot until it cooled to room temperature, then gently poured it into the cooler, which I then placed in the freezer.

Here’s a picture at the start:

Ice in cooler in freez

You might not be able to make it out from this image, but after about one day the ice was frozen a couple inches from the top.


After another day (approximately 50 hours in) I took out the cooler and unmolded onto a towel next to my sink. (I need a large bar mat for next time!)

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As you can see it was only frozen about halfway through. I wanted to practice cutting it anyway, figuring my technique would need some work, so I didn’t put it back in the freezer and just went ahead. I suspect a third day would have it frozen very close to the end.

I first cut off the unfrozen part, of course drenching my kitchen in the process. After trimming it, I got about a 2.5” thick slab. Here’s what it looked like:

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Arnold’s method of cutting is pretty simple. You use a large serrated knife (I used my bread knife, since I almost never cut bread anyway) to score the ice on both sides. Then you simply put the blade into one of the grooves you created and tap on it and voila. Arnold is right when he says that it looks a lot more impressive than it actually is. Here it is cut into columns, with one column cut into chunks:

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I used it in an Oaxaca Old Fashioned from Death and Co.


Banana Justino

This is the first part of my series of recipes from Liquid Intelligence. I’m going to make all of them, which you can see here.

I had heard a few weeks back on Cooking Issues Dave talking to one of the callers about making Justinos using just Pectinex and gravity (or God’s centrifuge as his guest called it). He said the mixture was shelf-stable so you could just wait it out. I believe Dave was talking about dates rather than bananas, but I decided rum was probably high enough alcohol to be shelf-stable anyway, even with a few bananas blended in. I’m far from a scientist though so please take that as nothing but the rambling of a random guy on the internet. All I can tell you for sure is that I drank some of it and didn’t die.

Though Liquid Intelligence makes use of a centrifuge, those of us without $10,000 to spare have to wait so I decided to try his banana Justino recipe when I knew I was going to be out of town for awhile.

The process was dead simple.

Step 1

Blend a bottle of rum (I went with my default dark rum, Gosling’s Black Seal) and three bananas with 2g Pectinex Ultra-SPL.

Justino Step 1

Step 2

Wait. I was out of town, so it sat on the counter for I think 14 days. It didn’t really separate much more than it did after 2, so I’m not sure there was a point to waiting any further. Here’s what it looked like:

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Step 3

Strain through a Chemex back into a bottle. Voila. You can see I got most of a bottle back.

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The taste is fantastic. I mean, it’s banana and rum. You know the combo.

I served it as Dave recommended. I made ice cubes out of coconut water, poured the Justino over it, squeezed a lime wedge on top, stirred, and topped with a star anise pod. Here it is half-drank. I was too busy enjoying to get a great picture.

Liquid Intelligence Review

Last week I picked up Liquid Intelligence. I wanted to wait to write a review of it until I had a little time to digest the whole thing.

First off, I should say that I have a hetero-man-crush on Dave Arnold. I’ve been listening to Cooking Issues for well over a year now. He’s answered numerous questions of mine, some cocktail related. I’ve experimented with many of the concepts in the book before it came out. I bought some Pectinex Ultra-SPL, for instance, and agar, and did a few different juice clarifications. I built my own carbonation rig. I’ve read his work on chilling and dilution and watched all the YouTube videos. There isn’t much he’s done that I haven’t heard about.

So I was afraid going in that there’d be nothing I haven’t heard before. Turns out, there’s quite a bit in there I didn’t know, and there’s a lot more depth on some of the things I did know.

Dave (he’s answered enough of my questions that I feel like we’re on a first name basis) goes into depth on the science of cocktails. Want to know which sugars are sweeter upfront but fade faster? (Hint, things containing fructose, like agave nectar.) Or which acids to use when? The ingredients section has you covered.

Every bartender, whether professional or enthusiastic amateur, needs to read the section on ice. It clears up many misconceptions in the bar industry. There are 25 pages devoted to it, and they’re worth the read possibly more than anything else in the book.

His section on Cocktail Calculus has a balance chart that shows, at a glance, the sugar, acid, and alcohol levels of a cocktail. His formula lets you develop cocktails almost mathematically. That’s really interesting to me, and something I hope to play around with more. I’m debating even making a cocktail recipe creation app based on it.

The section on carbonation will help even those of us who’ve been doing it at home a bit. It had never occurred to me to mix nitrous with CO2. His clarification flowchart will help you figure out how to clarify any juice for bubbles. He’ll help you troubleshoot problem commons. (I think everyone who carbonates has had a drink foam out, only to turn the PSI up and have it foam out even more.)

To do most of the stuff in this book you’re probably going to have to get out of your comfort zone if you haven’t done any modernist cooking or mixology. The good news is, Arnold includes a ton of ways to do recipes at home that require little to no equipment. Armed with basic bar tools, an ISI Whip and a Modernist Pantry account, you can do most of the recipes.

It won’t be cheap. And it won’t be easy. Most of these drinks take preparation. There’s a list of classic cocktails, but if that’s what you’re looking for (something to stir up and drink right now) PDT or Death and Co. are better books. This isn’t meant to be a list of classic recipes, and they’re included more than anything to give you a jumping off point in terms of balancing your own new ones.

However if you want to push the limits of what a cocktail can be, and don’t mind some prep work (hell, the bottled cocktails save you work at the party) this is THE book right now.

I decided when I went through the book that I am going to undertake a new project too. I am going to make every recipe in that damned thing, as faithfully as I can, and post them here. Just watch for the Liquid Intelligence tag.