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.
RECIPE: Dave Arnold’s Rapid-Infused Orange Bitters
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
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.
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!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
We also promised you recipes! Here is a brilliantly creative recipe for “iSi Rapid-Infused Ceviche”, contributed by our friend Chef Jill Houk . This dish is an exceptionally inventive, yet simple, example of Rapid Infusion put to work. Enjoy this modern twist on a classic light dish, splendid for spring & summer!
iSi Rapid-Infused Ceviche
Contributed by Chef Jill Houk*
Ceviche is a seafood dish that originated in Peru. It’s a combination of raw fish, citrus juice, peppers, and onions. The citrus juice de-natures the proteins in the fish, giving it the texture of cooked fish. Because the fish isn’t actually cooked, it’s essential to use ultra-fresh fish that is kept cold at all times. The iSi Gourmet Whip speeds up how quickly you can get your ceviche to the table. Traditionally, the fish would need to sit in citrus juice for 30 minutes to an hour. Now, you can eat ceviche in minutes, simply by using iSi’s Rapid Infusion method.
0.5L (Pint) iSi Gourmet Whip
1/2 pound firm white fish, such as sea bass, whitefish, tilapia, or mahi mahi
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (the juice of 4-5 limes)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (the juice of 1/2 an orange)
1/4 cup water
1 small serrano pepper or 1/2 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
1/4 cup thinly-sliced red onion
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2-3 large leaves of lettuce
1 sweet potato, peeled, diced and cooked
1) Freeze fish 10-15 minutes to make it easier to cut.
2) Remove from freezer. Remove skin (if necessary) and slice into 1/4-inch thin strips. Cut strips into bite-sized pieces.
3) Place half of fish into iSi Gourmet Whip. Add lime juice, orange juice, water, serrano, and onion. Screw the head firmly onto iSi Gourmet Whip.
4) Insert an iSi cream charger into charger holder and screw onto the iSi Gourmet Whip to release the gas into the Whipper.
5) Remove the charger and discard (or, recycle!). Cover the decorator tip with a cup (to capture spray) and, in an upright position, press the lever of the iSi Gourmet Whip to release all of the pressurized gas inside, and remove the Whipper head.
6) Strain fish mixture over a bowl through an iSi funnel & sieve or fine chinois. Set marinated fish aside.
7) Return marinade to iSi Gourmet Whip. Add remaining fish. Screw the head onto Gourmet Whip.
8) Insert an iSi cream charger into charger holder and screw onto the iSi Gourmet Whip to release the gas into the Whipper.
9) Remove the charger and discard (or, recycle!). Cover the decorator tip with a cup (to capture spray) and, in an upright position, press the lever of the iSi Gourmet Whip to release all of the pressurized gas inside, and remove the Whipper head.
10) Transfer contents of the iSi Gourmet Whip into a bowl and add the fish which was set aside in step 5. Sprinkle with salt.
11) Line plate with lettuce. Top with marinated fish. Garnish with sweet potatoes and serve immediately.
*Chef Jill Houk is also the author of “The Complete Soda Making Book”, which features over 100 creative recipes to make your own artisanal sodas at home. Jill’s book mentions our iSi Soda Siphon as an option for creating bubbly beverages!
For many decades, Vodka-loving nations such as Russia and Poland have experimented with infusions – made at home, in bars & taverns. Their infusions were simple – similar to the “soaking” infusion method widely used by bars today: flavorful (often pungent or spicy) solid ingredients are combined with Vodka (or another neutral spirit) in a sealed container for several days until the flavors eventually transfer over time.
Our understanding of culinary science has come a long way, veering significantly off the beaten path, and further away from traditional techniques. We’re the next generation. We’re experimenting. We’re creating. We’re inspiring. We’re pushing the boundaries of creativity in the kitchen and developing new tools, technology, and techniques. We don’t settle for something “great”, we want more … something brilliant, fascinating, functional and alluring – all at once. Voilà – Rapid Infusion is all of this and so much more.
Infusing glorious flavors of fresh herbs, fruits & spices into the solids, oils or spirits of your preference has never been considered a quick or easy process – until now. iSi’s Rapid Infusion technique is a brilliant way to experiment with your own personal taste preferences and discover magnificent new flavor combinations. For instance, who knew that Jalapeño and Watermelon infused with Vodka could be so crisp, refreshing and tasty? Or, that strong flavors like fresh lemon slices or cinnamon sticks transfer flavor very quickly, while less pungent ingredients (for instance, an apple) takes more time for its subtle flavor to develop? We do, because we’ve tried it hundreds (actually, thousands) of times with the iSi Gourmet Whip, and now you can too!
It All Began with an Experiment…
The “Father” of Rapid Infusion (and renowned culinary prodigy) Dave Arnold of Booker + Dax and MOFAD (Museum of Food & Drink) first discovered the Rapid Infusion technique by experimenting with his iSi Gourmet Whip in 2010 to see “what else it could do”, and posted the results of his experiment on his blog, Cooking Issues, calling it “Game Changing”. Since then, we’ve worked very closely with Dave Arnold, and some of the world’s best & brightest chefs and bartenders from Leo Robitschek to Don Lee and John Pomeroy – to perfect the Rapid Infusion technique using the iSi Gourmet Whip. After years of research, and an abundance of expert advice from our outstanding friends in the bar industry, we’ve gotten it just right
Rapid Infusion, Simplified
Rapid Infusion makes it possible to infuse the flavors of solids and liquids with one another in the shortest possible amount of time by releasing the pressure contained in an iSi cream charger into a sealed vessel (the iSi Gourmet Whip).
Once under pressure, the flavors of the solids become infused (on a molecular level) into the liquid (ie: lemon-rosemary olive oil). Through this process, the flavors of the liquid also become infused into the solid. Vodka-infused cherries, anyone?
Rapid Infusion is like a limitless treasure trove of unique, interesting and undiscovered flavor combinations, right at your fingertips!
Benefits of Rapid Infusion vs Traditional Infusions
— Experiment with infinite flavor combinations in less time – let’s say didn’t prefer the taste of your chocolate, bergamot and gin infusion? No problem, you can whip up another infusion with completely different ingredients in minutes!
— Fresh ingredients = fresh taste. Fresh ingredients also mean that *you* choose where your ingredients come from (ie: farmer’s market, a specific local grower, etc) without having to rely on an artificial flavoring or syrup for flavor.
— Less bitter taste – the slight “sweetness” of the N2O in an iSi cream charger balances the bitterness of ingredients like cacao nibs or coffee beans.
— More hygienic than leaving unattended or uncovered ingredient mixtures out for days to infuse on their own.
— Limitless possibilities: you can infuse liquids into solids, too – think marinades, fruits, or even ceviche! Create your own artisan flavored bitters in no time – a popular trend amongst many of our favorite bartenders. And last but not least … Pickle anything in just a few minutes!
I’m Ready! Where Do I Start?
With your iSi Gourmet Whip in hand, follow these basic instructions and start your culinary engine: Ready, Set, Go!
1) Place fresh, aromatic solid ingredients of your choice into the iSi Gourmet Whip
2) Fill the iSi Gourmet Whip with your liquid of choice to the maximum fill line marked on the bottle
3) Screw on the head of the Whipper – make sure it is screwed on securely
4) Charge the iSi Gourmet Whip with 1 iSi Cream Charger (or, 2 iSi Cream Chargers if you are using a Quart/Liter size Whipper)
5) Shave vigorously a few times, swirl it around a bit, and let the charged mixture sit for 5-10 minutes (depending on the potency of the ingredients, some will take a bit longer to infuse)
6) Place a cup over the decorator tip of the Whipper (There will be some “spray” when you first begin releasing the gas) and in an upright position, dispense the gas from the Whipper until it has been fully released. This ensures that there is no pressure in the Whipper, and it is now safe to unscrew the Whipper head.
7) Unscrew the head of the Whipper. Notice that there may be a bubbling or “fizzy” appearance to the mixture inside. This is infusion, happening right before your eyes!
8) Strain the solid and liquid ingredients through an iSi Sieve (or fine chinois) to separate.
9) Enjoy the flavors, aromas, and colors of your new creation!
Seattle-based ChefSteps has developed an online Whipping Siphon course using iSi products to demonstrate Rapid Infusion (and so much more), in 33 short, fun and inspiring videos. The cost for enrollment is just $39, and you participate in the course at your own pace, with the option to revisit any section at your leisure. ChefSteps also offers a fully engaged online community forum with home & professional chefs. Ask questions, exchange advice on equipment, ingredients and techniques. If you are interested in learning the many techniques you can apply using your iSi Gourmet Whip, we give the ChefSteps course a triple thumbs-up.
iSi Rapid Infusion: Best Practices
— Rapid Infusion works best when your liquid ingredients are at room temperature. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with infusing spicy flavors into hot chocolate!
— Don’t use chilled/cold liquid for your infusion – the molecules in any cold liquid are bound more tightly, providing less room for the solid flavoring agent(s) to “share” its own flavor molecules.
— The iSi Gourmet Whip’s professional-grade, sturdy construction makes it ideal for any type of infusion – hot or cold. For this reason, iSi only endorses the use of the Rapid Infusion technique with an iSi Gourmet Whip.
— Stronger flavor profiles take less time to develop (5-10 minutes), so be patient with softer, more delicate flavors of peach, grape, etc. They may take longer to develop (20-30 minutes).
— ALWAYS use iSi cream chargers with iSi equipment. They are made to work together as a system, extremely food-safe, made of the highest quality, guarantee a consistent level of pressure & filling volume (remember: an 8g cream charger is an “ingredient” in your recipe, too!) – plus, the use of any other brand of chargers in iSi equipment is neither recommended for optimal results nor covered by warranty.
The world is your iSi oyster! Experiment with an herb + fruit infusion, a marinade + protein infusion, quick-pickling, make your own bitters, infuse your own coffee, vodka-infused strawberries (and strawberry-infused vodka) – the possibilities are only limited by the borders of your own creativity!
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: email@example.com
We’ll share some Rapid Infusion Recipes in the next post, but in the meantime, grab your iSi Gourmet Whip, a bottle of olive oil or Vodka, and experiment with what’s in your pantry right now!
Now that we’ve covered all you need to know on making fresh whipped cream in your iSi Whippers, let’s explore some other inspirational techniques that will take you beyond traditional whipped cream. It’s time to experiment and have some fun – if you can dream it up, you can whip it up!
Important: We only endorse using the iSi Gourmet Whip for these techniques, because it’s the most versatile product we offer, and it’s specially designed to handle all of the “beyond whipped cream” applications we’ll talk about today.
Flavor Injections – iSi Injector Tips
You already know and love your iSi Gourmet Whip. You’ve tried endless recipes for foams, espumas, batters, and just need that extra “umph” to take your culinary creations to the next level. iSi Injector Tips are an inexpensive attachment for your iSi Gourmet Whip which multiply the versatility of this already marvelous tool. Just attach an Injector tip in place of the decorator tip, and you’ve opened up a whole new world of possibilities.
Quickly inject flavor, brines or marinades into proteins like chicken, turkey or pork. The pressure from the iSi cream charger will do all the work.
To satisfy your sweet-tooth, use the iSi Injector Tip attachment to fill pastries like donut holes or muffins with flavored cream – or even “espesso” (espresso-flavored foam created by the great Ferran Adrià)!
Use the shorter Tips to decorate donuts with a mouthwatering chocolate drizzle, or when you’re working with strong flavors that just need a “touch” of iSi magic. Chef Louisa Chu of Chicago recently created a zesty Chive Emulsion – just a few small drops brought the perfect bit of “bite” to top off Roasted Potato Foam on a Roast Beef Crostini.
Made of 100% stainless steel, iSi Injector Tips are a great addition to a product you already have in your kitchen – or, if you don’t already own an iSi Gourmet Whip, maybe they’ll inspire you to add one to your toolkit just so you can inject, decorate, and stuff away! Plus, they’re dishwasher-safe. Just be sure to clean them between uses.
Ingredients for 1/2 pint (.25 liter) iSi Gourmet Whip using an iSi Injector Tip
1 iSi cream charger
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup Tabasco or other hot sauce
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoons kosher salt
4 chicken legs
Tabasco-Maple Brine (see recipe above)
Buttermilk, for soaking
Seasoned flour, for dredging
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Combine all ingredients for brine until dissolved. Transfer 1 cup of the brine to a 1/2 pint iSi Gourmet Whip. Charge with one iSi cream charger and shake well. Screw on a long iSi Injector Tip needle. Hold Whipper with Tip pointed downward and inject chicken with brine. When complete, place chicken in a bowl and cover with buttermilk. Refrigerate overnight.
In a deep, heavy bottomed skillet or electric fryer, heat oil to 350°F, using a thermometer to keep track of the temperature.
Drain chicken and dredge in seasoned flour, shaking off the excess.
Working in small batches (to avoid a drastic temperature fluctuations in preheated oil), fry chicken until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes per side. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach at least 180°F.
Drain chicken on a rack placed over a sheet pan. Cover loosely with foil to keep the skin crisp while keeping the chicken warm.
Carbonation – iSi Soda Chargers (CO2)
Did you know that your iSi Gourmet Whip can also carbonate water (or, any liquid) – and also create fizzy fruits? The same (CO2) iSi soda chargers that you use in your iSi Soda Siphon can be used interchangeably in the iSi Gourmet Whip. Just be careful not to carbonate anything cream or milk-based (carbonation and cream don’t mix) – but anything else is yours to bubble up!
Carbonation adds zing and zip, and lightens flavors on the palate. Fizz up pure green teas or seasonal fruit juices. Or add all-natural Monin or homemade syrups to water to create your own artisanal, hand-made soda. Add a bit of bubbly to cocktails and wine. While it’s still cold outside, try sparkling mulled hard cider! We like Jill Houk’s newly released Complete Soda Making Book, featuring 100 all-natural handmade soda recipes – right now, we’re stuck on the homemade root beer, but we’ll leave the experimenting up to you.
To take your carbonation experiments to the next level, consider carbonating fruit in your iSi Gourmet Whip. Imagine orange slices, watermelon chunks, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, or even cucumber with a fizzy “love at first bite”. Why carbonate fruits? Why not! Imagine the difference between a glass of still water and soda water on your tastebuds. Soda water is more crisp, refreshing, and leaves a tingling sensation in your mouth. Plus it’s unique, fun, and an easy way to add some pizzazz to your next dinner party (and, of course – impress your guests with your modern cuisine skills)!
For best results, select fresh, juicy seasonal fruits (or, even vegetables). Ingredients with high water content work best (remember, it’s the water in the fruit that’s actually carbonating to make the crispy bubbles). Juicy pears, grapes, pomegranate seeds and ripe strawberries are some of our favorite ingredients for this technique.
Make sure to peel your fruit first and cut it into bite-sized pieces. If you’re using pomegranates, carbonate only the seeds.
For this technique, fill your Gourmet Whip bottle with the ingredient you want to carbonate. Screw on the head securely, and then charge with one iSi soda charger. Rotate/shake the bottle around a bit to mix the gas into the fruit. This process literally happens overnight – so make sure to chill in the fridge overnight for best results.
When you’re ready to serve, press the lever down to release all the gas from the bottle. Now the Whipper is de-pressurized, so you can unscrew the head. It’s important to serve your fizzy fruit immediately. This makes for a simple and fun garnish – drop into cocktails for an unexpected little surprise, or enjoy the twinkle of carbonated grapes one by one.
Batters – iSi Soda Chargers (CO2)
Whether you’re making pancakes or crispy tempura, using your iSi Gourmet Whip to aerate the batter makes it better. In the case of pancakes or waffles, you’ll see that they’re noticeably lighter and fluffier than a traditional preparation – and, as an added benefit you’ll get more yield from your batter since the tiny bubbles that are fluffing your food up take up extra space in the batter mixture.
In the case of tempura, you’ll notice an undeniably crispier, crunchier crust. We recently attended a cooking demonstration with Chef Richard Blais and the James Beard Foundation at Sur la Table in Chicago, where Chef Blais said he uses iSi soda chargers to aerate batter for his famously delicious onion rings in all of his restaurants – because they don’t get soggy as quickly, and have a crispier crust. Take it from us, or from the pros – this is a technique to try.
The trick to great tempura is keeping the batter chilled and carbonated, both which create a final dish that’s delicate and crisp -not doughy. With your iSi Gourmet Whip, you’ll make tempura like a master in no time. Here’s a simple tempura recipe to start with, although you can aerate any of your favorite batters (just make sure to run the batter through a fine mesh sieve – or the iSi Funnel & Sieve to avoid any particles getting stuck in the nozzle of your Whipper).
Tempura Batter Recipe
Ingredients for a 1 Pint iSi Gourmet Whip:
1 cup cold water
1 cup all-purpose or rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1) Pour water into a large bowl. In another bowl whisk together flour and salt. Sprinkle flour mixture over water then barely whisk the batter. There will be lumps – don’t worry, this is normal!
2) Strain through a fine mesh sieve, or the iSi Funnel & Sieve
3) Pour the smooth batter into your iSi Gourmet Whip up to the indicated fill line
4) Screw on one iSi soda charger. Shake vigorously about 5 times
Test your batter. It should look like fizzy, soft whipped cream. Dip lightly floured pieces of seafood, veggies or tofu immediately, or you can let the batter chill in your fridge until you’re ready to fry.
Preheat your oil to 375°F and fry battered pieces until they are a light golden color. Sprinkle with salt while still hot – serve and enjoy immediately.
Welcome to light & crispy tempura – made the iSi way!
Now, let’s talk about fluffy pancakes (and waffles, too!)
1) Prepare your favorite pancake/waffle recipe, or pre-packaged mixture. Pour the batter through a fine sieve (or iSi Funnel & Sieve) into your Gourmet Whip, up to the indicated fill line
2) Screw on the iSi Whipper head, and charge with an iSi soda charger
3) Dispense batter directly onto hot griddle until golden brown
Voila! Fluffy pancakes/waffles served!
Tip: you can keep any unused batter in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Thanks for joining us in exploring some fun techniques beyond whipped cream! Remember, we also have a wealth of recipes in our online database: http://bit.ly/1exNQTa
Next week, we’ll get into the science behind foams and infusions using iSi Whippers, so stay tuned!
Late winter. How many of us are still craving stews and pot roasts? With this unusually warm “winter” we’ve been having, and our daffodils already peeking through the ground cover, we can’t help but wonder if spring is right around the corner. It has us thinking about spring fruit and produce more than ever, to just hurry up and get here!
Call us impatient, but we know we’re still stuck with winter’s produce in the meantime. Maybe some lovely blood oranges or kiwis, pink and red grapefruits, even an Anjou pear or two! With that, we’ve come up with this delicious, yet versatile vanilla yogurt cream, which works well for every season — even those that are confused (and shall remain nameless, you Winter of 2012)!
Vanilla Yogurt Cream
Ingredients for 1 pint Creative Whip
2 cups vanilla yogurt
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp confectioners sugar
pinch vanilla seeds (from the bean), optional
Mix all ingredients until the sugar is completely dissolved and pour into a 1 pint iSi Creative Whip and screw on 2 iSi cream chargers and shake vigorously after each charge. Chill for at least 30 minutes. To serve, this versatile cream pairs well with any meal: dollop on top of seasonal fresh fruit, oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast, lamb shanks or lobster for dinner and chocolate or poached apples for dessert, just to name a few.
Note: You can substitute or add to the vanilla for any kind of additional flavoring, such as a touch of lemon or orange oil, based on your dish. Really anything pairs fabulously with this cream.
Photo adapted from A Series of Kitchen Experiments