Dave Arnold’s

Rapid-Infused Orange Bitters

Dave Arnold's Rapid-Infused Orange Bitters, made with the iSi Gourmet Whip.

Dave Arnold’s Rapid-Infused Orange Bitters.
Made with the iSi Gourmet Whip.

What are Bitters, Anyway?

(as defined by dictionary.reference.com):

1)  bit·ters : [bit-erz] – noun ( used with a plural verb )
a liquid, often an alcoholic liquor, in which bitter herbs or roots have steeped, used as a flavoring, especially in mixed drinks, or as a tonic.

(as defined by the many bartenders we’ve talked to):

2)  bit·ters : [bit-erz] – an ingredient (used with brandy, gin or other liquor )
a liquid, always a super-high proof alcoholic liquor, infused to the max with strong concentrated flavors – an essential in classic drinks and “vintage” bartending styles, always used sparingly to add balance to certain mixed drinks, and never as a tonic. A required staple in any “real” bar.

So, why is Dave Arnold using the iSi Gourmet Whip to Infuse his own Bitters?

Over the years, we’ve often found ourselves “on the other side of the bar” – listening to the woes of our bartender friends across the country, and in these extraordinary conversations, we’ve learned a lot just by listening. But, we don’t always “talk shop” about iSi – we deliberate on the best glassware (and the worst), we’ve had dozens of debates on who makes the best ice (and how they do it) – but mostly we hear, “I wish my hair were as amazing and versatile as Don Lee” (owner of New York’s coveted Cocktail Kingdom & New York’s newest must-see shining star, The Golden Cadillac).

What can we say? True story. Research it for yourself: the cocktail industry is obsessed with Don Lee (and his hairstyles).

But… back to bitters. Many of today’s most inventive bartenders are revamping their own signature versions of old-school classic drinks in which bitters are an essential ingredient (Old Fashioned, anyone?). What’s so bittersweet about this evolving revolution is the absence of variety – there are only 5 “mainstream” readily available bitters – despite the fact that bitters have been around since the early 19th century. Growing in presence, availability and popularity, smaller-batch, artisanal bitters have started popping up in top-notch distribution channels and selling their products online, like Dashfire Bitters Co from St. Paul, MN.

Dave, being the experimental whiz-kid that he is, decided he wasn’t in love with with traditional bitters – he wasn’t even fully satisfied with the smaller artisanal brands. Only his own creations – a methodically calculated combination of unique flavors and sensations – made à la minute from the freshest, premium ingredients could placate his palate.

Constantly seeking precision, purity and evolution, Dave took one look at the iSi Gourmet Whip and he instinctively knew that iSi’s Culinary Systems are engineered to create much more than just whipped cream. He first identified the two major components available to him: an air-tight sealed vessel and a gas-powered charger that could be dispensed into it. This simple understanding was fascinating, and led him into a whirlwind of trial & error food-science experiments – you name it, and it’s likely that he’s tried it. Dave proved that the iSi Gourmet Whip + iSi cream chargers, when used together, could rapidly infuse ingredients under pressure. He has since shared his technical knowledge, recipes, and so much more with Chefs, bartenders, and aspiring culinary students around the world, and continues to experiment with “what else” the iSi Gourmet Whip can do.

Here, we share one of our favorite Dave Arnold recipes with you: Rapid-Infused Orange Bitters. We hope this recipe inspires you to see the world of flavor with new eyes, and unlock your potential for creating any type of bitters you’d like.

Just make sure to use iSi brand cream chargers, an iSi Gourmet Whip, and you’re on your way to inspiration-ville.

 

RECIPE: Dave Arnold’s Rapid-Infused Orange Bitters

Ingredients

350 ml · 11.8 fl. oz 40% abv neutral vodka

25 g · 0.9 oz fresh orange peel (no pith, orange only)

25 g · 0.9 oz dried orange peel (Sevilles preferable)

25 g · 0.9 oz dried lemon peel

25 g · 0.9 oz dried grapefruit peel

0.2 g · 0.01 oz whole cloves (3 cloves)

2.5 g · 0.1 oz green cardamom seeds removed from pod

2 g · 0.1 oz caraway seeds

2.5 g · 0.1 oz quassia bark

5 g · 0.2 oz dried gentian root

Preparation

1) Pulse all the dry ingredients (everything but the fresh peel and the vodka) in a spice grinder until everything is the size of whole peppercorns.

2) Put the dry mix, the vodka, and the fresh orange peel into a 0.5 L iSi Gourmet Whip.

3) Screw on 1 iSi cream charger and shake.

4) Put the iSi Whipper in simmering water (at. max. 75 °C/165 °F) for 20 minutes.

5) Cool the iSi Whipper in ice water for 5 minutes then vent by pressing the lever down fully.

6) Remove the head of the Whipper and pour the infused liquid through the iSi funnel & sieve into a container.

7) The peels will have absorbed almost all the liquid.

8) Put them in a press sack or superbag and squeeze the bitters out.

Yield*:

52% (185 ml · 6.2 fl. oz).

*Upping the yield makes a bitterer product with fewer aromas.

 

Dave Arnold’s revolutionary approach to making better-looking, better-tasting drinks:

For all  of our Dave Arnold Fans, you’ll be thrilled to know that his cocktail (science) book is coming out this fall, and it’s on pre-sale now at Amazon – get it while it’s  hot!

Questions?

Please share your comments, experiments and favorite flavor combinations with us – we always love to hear from you! Visit us on Facebook, chat with us on Twitter, or just send us an old-fashioned email: isinorthamerica@isi.com

 

Post and photo by iSi North America | PUBLISHED: April 3, 2014