Edible British Columbia

Salt-n-Pepper logo

Category: Drinks

Art In Cooking: How The Alchemist Makes Their Cocktails Thumbnail
Comments(0)

When it comes to artisanal cocktails with a twist, the Alchemist is undefeated. The chain of cocktail restaurants has made a name for itself by serving up some of the most captivating and unique drinks you will find anywhere. And you would be forgiven for thinking a lot of the whimsical mixtures are using magic to achieve such incredible effects.

But as magical as it all seems, it can all be explained by a mixture of art and science. The often unusual and cryptic world meets the logical and scientific in an extraordinary manner. And we are here to break down how it is all done. Be warned, this article will spoil some of the mystery surrounding the Alchemist cocktails so if you would rather not know, click away now.

 

The Mystical Fog

The most common sight you will see from these cocktails is the overflowing fountain of fog. Nothing is more exciting than seeing a bartender pour a small mixture into your drink and watching it explode into a volcano of froth. But how is this done?

The main component is a weaker version of dry ice. They have to manually make ice with an ice maker that is specifically designed to react with the alcoholic mixtures to suddenly expand and melt into this foggy substance. Normal dry ice can’t be used, of course, but this substitute is absolutely harmless.

 

Flavour Changing

Another common cocktail you can experience is a flavor changing one. These are designed to start as one flavor and turn into another after a certain amount has been drunk. And it is seemingly done by magic as the liquid itself looks the same the whole time. So what is going on within the drink?

Different liquids have different consistencies. This basically means some are thicker than others. Some are lighter than others. And because of these differences, they will react differently while in contact. But, being liquid, they will all still occupy the same space.

This is the basic principle being used to create the appearance of a flavor changing drink. In reality, the different flavored liquids are all there, it is just poured in a way that means one is buried under the other until the entire mixture is disturbed enough for it to breakthrough.

 

Colour Changing Madness

These cocktails provide the greatest visual pleasure for those at the bar. They start off as one basic color. But, after adding the rest of the drink, the liquid will start to shift through a veritable rainbow of colors. Spirals of glitter cascade up through the glass and the drink seemingly take on a life of its own.

This is a mixture of the previous idea of liquid consistency mixed with some simple color mixing. It is often just as simple as two liquids of opposing colors will turn the drink into a new one. But the effects are created by the bartender knowing how much of a certain liquid to add, and where to pour it as well. This lets them create the illusion of the color spewing out from a point within the drink.

The glitter effects are simply edible glitter or gold flakes added in and given a stir to create a whirlpool effect. Not the most incredible scientifically, but still a fantastic sight to behold.

 

All of this seems quite simple when said in these terms. But you have to keep in mind this is all mixed with a lot of creative thinking and planning. The way they utilize these simple techniques is incredibly complex. So we will keep some secrets hidden away from now.

 

This Australian Food Festival is Changing the Cooking World Thumbnail
Comments(0)

The Ballina food and wine festival is a unique and interesting food event displaying everything that makes great cuisine, its large following has only grown over every year the event is held. Its popularity has grown so much the festival now features two separate events in two amazing locations, held in the summer months you can expect to enjoy great food and wine under the beaming sun with like-minded food enthusiasts. The range of local produce that is available to sample and purchase is unlike any other event in the region, as well as a large array of produce native to Australia, Ballina also hosts food retailers from all over the world so there will definitely be something new for you to try.

 

Location

Set in the modern, picturesque location of the Ballina Jockey club this food festival has a much more unique atmosphere than any other event out there. There is a sense of elegance around the festival with the club hosting a whole range of other prestigious events throughout the year. With long stretches of colorful and well-maintained gardens, this event is the perfect place to find a delicious new dish to sample, pair it with a glass of accompanying wine, and just relax. Where other events can overwhelm its visitors with a busy and sometimes hectic atmosphere, Ballina takes a more relaxed approach to how it is hosted.

 

Charity Support

As well as providing amazing food and wine, the Ballina festival works with a different charity organization every year, the fact that this event works so hard to provide its loyal visitors with a great festival whilst helping to raise money for charity really is commendable. As previously mentioned the Ballina also hosts a second event, the after-hours gala is hosted in order to show off a classier dining experience with live music and entertainment. As if the main festival wasn’t enough the dinner attracts an elegant clientele, with extra charity shows and a raffle with some pretty juicy prizes on offer, a large portion of the profits that are made also go towards charity.

 

Produce

The main focus of any food festival would have to be the food they offer, at Ballina there is no shortage of world cuisines for you to try. Below are just some of the types of food that are offered at this amazing event.

 

  • Mexican street food
  • Indian cuisine
  • Local Australian produce
  • Flavored Cheeses
  • Customizable Chinese noodle boxes
  • Shawarma
  • Artisan baked goods
  • Deli counter
  • Organic fruit and veg

 

That is just the tip of the iceberg and the best thing is they all offer a diverse range of foods at very reasonable prices, Ballina is very supportive of its local Australian businesses and has been inviting smaller retailers such as My Alter Ego Catering Brisbane and Australian Catering Services to come and display what great dishes they have come up with.

 

If you are someone who enjoys good food and good wine then the Ballina festival is the one for you, not only will you find a range of delicious foods but you will be morally satisfied through the fact that the event is supporting local businesses whilst helping those in need through its charity work. The food festival is really paving the way to helping smaller food retailers in getting a solid footing on the market.

 

The food industry can be very competitive and getting a strong reputation can take a lot of time, by providing opportunities to smaller businesses Ballina is contributing to the success of small businesses around the globe and paving the way for the mainstream names in the future of the food industry. The cooking world is constantly changing, from trends in what food is popular and the innovative methods in how different meals are created, Ballina food and wine showcase it all and more!

 

If you find yourself lucky enough to attend this prestigious event then really relish in the opportunity to try some new cuisines, you may not find some of the produce anywhere else so take advantage of the opportunity to try something new, support small businesses and contribute to a very noble cause.

5 Drinking Games For Your Next Party Thumbnail
Comments(0)

Drinking games are a great way to get your party started. Encouraging high levels of drinking culture in adolescence drinking games have been around for many years.  Many only require one thing and that’s booze. If not it will be household related items accessible to almost everyone. It’s a cheap and easy. Typically partaken by students, dinner party guests and cool kids drinking games are for everyone over 18. The dark side of drinking games is the stepping stone into alcoholism. It can be dangerous, but that encourages the fun. The chance you could end up paralytic on the floor or nicely buzzed. Chances are you will end up on the floor but at least you will have fun doing it.

 

1 – Flip cup

You will need: a cup, alcohol, a table, friends.

A fun favorite is flip cup, a drinking game typically using an American red solo cup.

To participate:

  • get 2+ people and split into teams.
  • Set up a row of cups on the edge of the table for each team, fill will enough alcohol to shot.
  • As you race each other each member on the team must drink, successfully flip the cups a full 360 and land face down on the table.
  • The fastest team wins and the losers must drink again.

The pressure created from the alcohol fueled team game makes drinks go down much faster. It’s a quick way to get drunk, perfect for starting a party or before going out clubbing.

 

2 – Beer pong

You will need: cups, beer, a ping pong ball, a table

Classic beer pong need 2 players at a set time.

To participate:

  • Set up the cups in a triangle, 4 cups at the back moving upwards to 1 cup, similar to snooker ball formation. On opposite sides of the table.
  • Fill the cups with beer and stand behind them.
  • The aim is to bounce the ping pong ball across the table into one of the cups.
  • If a ball lands in your opponent’s cups, your opponent must drink it.
  • Once drunk the cup is removed, if several are removed reformat the cups into a smaller triangle
  • The winner removes all cups and the opponent must drink the winners remaining beer.

The aim of beer pong is to make your opponent drink more beer resulting in less accurate throws. It’s easy to learn and can be played by anyone with arms. Even though the name of the game is beer pong you can easily replace the beer with a substitute alcohol that is more palatable.

 

3 – Drunk Jenga

you will need: Jenga, alcohol, a pen

This is a more creative drinking game, involving tailored challenges created by yourself and your friends.

To participate:

  • Take a regular Jenga set and on each piece write a challenge or dare.
  • Build up the set
  • Each participant must remove a block from the tower and place it on the top of the pile using one hand
  • Each block removed the challenge or dare must be played
  • If the tower falls you finish your drink, pick up two blocks and complete the challenges

 

4 – Never have I ever

You will need: only alcohol and friends to play the never have I ever drinking game.

This is a more communicative drinking game for you and your mates.

To participate:

  • Either using prompts or your own statements, say your statements to the group and drink depending on your answer
  • For example, ‘never have I ever eaten something from the floor’ if you have, you take a drink!

The more embarrassing statements make good ice breakers at a party, gathering, dinner party or pre-drinks. It’s a quick and easy way to get to know your friends and acquaintances.

 

5 – most likely

you will need: drinks and friends

best played with friends and people you know as it tests the mutual knowledge of people’s personalities

To participate:

  • A group of you sit in a circle and each person takes turns to ask, ‘most likely’ questions
  • For example, ‘most likely to commit a crime’ as a group you point to the selected person who is most likely to.
  • The person with the majority votes drinks as many times as the votes they received.

This is a great was to bond with your friends and expose people.

 

 

Stephanie’s First Mixology Lesson – by Stephanie Yuen Thumbnail
Comments(0)

For us Chinese, the lunar new year is just around the corner! I guess it’s time to review the past year and make some new resolutions to embrace 2011.

Resolutions? Mine are typical: Eat healthy, exercise more, relax, live well, have fun!  Shall I say, at least 50% of the above can be achieved.

2010 review? Proud to say it was a great year for me!  I was smart enough to make some right decisions, said ‘no, thank you’ when needed to, had lots of great eats, spent valuable times with real friends, started a bilingual blog and embarked on my ‘Vancouver Cooks Asian’ cookbook project.

Oh, I also had my first mixology lesson, at Yew Restaurant & Bar inside Four Seasons Hotel!  Maybe it’s no big deal to many of you, but for someone like me who nods off after sipping only 1 oz. of  cocktail; that was my milestone!

The afternoon was spent in two parts: Learn how to make ‘Molecular Mango Ravioli’ in the shape of a sphere from Pastry Chef Wayne Kozinko and had a blast.  Thanks to Kozinko, who was smart and nice enough to come up with an easy-to-manage recipe so no one made a fool of oneself but had fun and laughter all the way.

The mixology lesson, on the other hand, didn’t go quite as easy.  The mixing part, done mostly by bartender Justin Taylor, was a piece of cake.

It’s the shaking part that required too much ‘fitness’ and even some ‘kungfu’ moves, resulting mostly in panting and sore arms.  But watching Justin showcasing the process of making a delicious drink from scratch as he explained how each element, each flavour and each step bind in together, was priceless.  I would never be able to go behind the bar and start shaking and mixing, but I now appreciate the arts and science behind each carefully measured and mastered cocktail!

For those who would like to play bartender while celebrating Lunar New Year, here is the recipe of this drink I totally indulged in that afternoon.

Maple Brule


Ingredients:


2 oz Rye Whisky
1oz lemon juice
1oz apple uice
1/2 oz maple syrup
3/4 oz pasteurized eggwhites

Garnish:
cinnamon sugar

Method:

Mix all ingredients together in cocktail shaker
Add ice and shake vigorously until foamy
Pour slowly into a coupe glass
There will be a thick layer of foam on top
Dust eggswhites with cinnamon sugar
With a small blow torch, brule the cinnamon sugar until a crisp sugar crust forms.