Entrepreneur. Cocktail and spirit champion. Old world wine provocateur.
I’ve never been one for molecular gastronomy. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the people who pull it off are brilliant and I have nothing but respect for what they do. I just never really got it. Science was never my thing.
So this is the closest I’ve ever come. It’s really not the same, but hey, I can put the hard sell on myself and convince me of just about anything. And if we’re changing part of a citrus fruit into a powder, I think it counts.
Let’s get on with it.
This is a cool trick, one that can add flavor, color and texture to a drink. It’s subtle and impressive, in my humble opinion. And it will make you a cocktail creator that draws the envy of your friends and neighbors. The basic approach here is to zest some citrus (in this case oranges), suck all the moisture out, crush it into a powder, then mix it with some other spices/salt to make a concoction.
The first thing you need to do is zest some oranges. I took three oranges and zested them right onto a silpat baking sheet.
Once you’ve zested the oranges, they should look like this.
And the silpat should look like this.
Put this silpat with orange zest into the oven at the lowest temperature you can. My oven only goes down to 150 degrees, so that’s where I set it. Leave your zest in the oven anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour. In my experience, lime zest tends to be ready in 30 minutes, orange zest takes closer to an hour. I don’t know why. As I mentioned earlier, I’m no scientist. Your zest should be dry, but not burnt. You’ll want to pull it right before it starts to brown. The goal here is to keep the citrus flavor in the final product, no burnt messes.
Next, take all of your dried zest and put it in a container to be muddled.
And then start muddling. If you have a mortar and pestle, that’s your best bet. Or a spice grinder. I have none of those things, so I use a stainless steel shaker and a muddler. But a grinder or mortar would be far superior.
When you’re done, you should have a finely ground powder. It should still be a bright, vibrant orange and have some serious orange aroma.
So, you’re probably wondering how to use it, right? Here’s something to get you started.
Zested Citrus Margarita
1.5 oz silver tequila
1 oz lime juice
0.75 oz Cointreau
0.50 oz simple syrup (optional)
This is a classic margarita recipe, although I tend to use more lime than Cointreau as I like a tart-y zip, not a sugary sweetness. So mix up your margarita and put it aside. On a plate, mix in a teaspoon of the crushed orange zest with a tablespoon of salt. Mix them up until they’re well mingled.
Rim your glass with a lime slice and salt your rim. Put your cocktail in this glass over ice, and voila! You have a nice margarita with a lovely and subtle orange/salt rim. It will add a nice light citrus finish to the drink and is certain to wow with presentation.