Last class we discussed ‘Ye Olde’ methods of infusing liquids. This period we shall discuss change. As technology advances, so does everything around it. Infusing spirits is no different. While the time-tested methods of Hot and Cold Infusion will never disappear, there are new methods on the horizon, including one that is taking up residence in many kitchens and bars worldwide.
Rapid Infusion Method (aka ISI Infusion)
A new method that has been pioneered by chefs and bar keeps (or mixologist, depending on who you ask) alike is the High Pressure Rapid Infusion technique. This method uses an ISI Whip and Nitrous Oxide, in the form of cartridges, to create small batch simple infusions. A quick overview of the process:
- Pour liquid and infusing ingredients into ISI Whip
- Cap ISI Whip tightly
- Charge ISI Whip with Nitrous Oxide Cartridge
- Wait a minute or two then vent all of gas out of ISI Whip
- Strain liquid and serve
The [Layman’s] Science: The rapid pressure increase created by the gas filling the chamber forces rapid diffusion of the flavor components into the liquid. So like the hot method, this greatly decreases the infusion time (to mere seconds in some cases), but without the possibility of compromising the flavor of the product. It is clear why this method has caught on in not only homes and kitchens, but in bars worldwide. A quick hit infusion made to order. It’s all the creativity and complexity of infusing without the wait (which can lose sales) and the possibility of wasted product (making too much).
The major downsides to this method: (1) Many solid components prove to not be as effectively infused with this method, (2) the cost associate with ISI Whips and one-use N2O Cartridges, and (3) its ability to only produce small batches. Though to be honest, the latter can be a benefit as well, especially when making an infusion for one (or two when I convince the misses she needs to try it as well).
This is a wonderful technique that could be of great benefit to not only Infusiasm, but to readers. So be on the lookout for Rapid Infusion recipes to start being included wherever possible, along with the cold infusion recipes in the coming year.
Know or heard of any other methods? Just want to throw some words of wisdom out there? Feel free to leave it all in our comments.