Sometimes ice cubes just don’t cut it. Need to take the deep freeze up a notch? Try these LN2 techniques for adding a special chill to your beverage.
Nitrogen is fun. It remains a liquid at 360 degrees below zero but boils and becomes a gas at room temperature. Add that to the fact that it can be used to flash freeze food and still remain edible and what you have is a recipe for a tasty science experiment. Safety must be a concern as extreme cold can do as much damage as extreme heat. Use every precaution when handling including gloves, eye protection and a well ventilated area. Liquid nitrogen (LN2) is readily available and is usually purchased in a flask or tank that preserves the temperature.
Do not eat Liquid Nitrogen directly, give it a chance to boil off when using it with food or drinks. Here are some safety tips
The most common use of LN2 is to add a little to a cocktail to chill and create that signature nitrogen smoke effect. Once the nitrogen becomes agitated (by adding water or another liquid) it will boil more quickly and emit loads of white gas. Which simply makes the drink look awesome. The Nitrotinis here from Grill 225 in Charleston, are kept extremely cold by the LN2 and emit that cool smoke. Nitrogen does have a tendency to make drinks a little clumpy and frozen though so don’t use too much.
Place a large metal bowl on a flat surface and fill the bottom with liquid nitrogen. Now slowly add drops of the chosen beverage and stir to prevent big clumps from forming. This technique creates a “dipping dot” texture where small circular beads form. Fish out with a cooking sive, then serve in a glass with toppings and a spoon. This is most effective with creamier drinks to create a dessert like experience.
By pouring the LN2 directly into a bowl of cocktail you can cause crystals to form quickly and the excess nitrogen to boil off. This requires some quick stirring and a slow application of liquid nitrogen to prevent the crystals from becoming too large and ruining a cream like texture. If the mix becomes too solid try adding a little more water (or alcohol) as a thinner. Serve in a cocktail glass to keep from melting. For a super strong margarita or a space age sangria this is highly recommended.
Recommend for drinks with a high water content this technique requires two metal bowls, one larger than the other. In the bigger bowl pour a small amount of LN2 then carefully rest the smaller bowl inside. Allow the inner bowl to cool then pour a healthy amount of cocktail around the sides of the bowl. The cocktail should stick to the sides of the bowl in a thin layer. Now scrape the walls clean and repeat with more mixed cocktail. The end result should be a crisp layered sorbet that will slowly melt in the mouth.