I had some fun with cocktails the other day using liquid nitrogen frozen ingredients, and making some regular cocktails too, here is the full write-up so anyone can repeat it. The use of liquid nitrogen is at your own risk, of course!

The blue lagoon, my personal favourite from the list!

The blue lagoon, my personal favourite from the list!

Hardware requirements:

1 Jigger (44ml measuring cup)

1 Cocktail shaker

Ice (lots)

A 1 litre jug

Plus a selection of these:

Guinea Pigs

People, glasses and cocktail umbrellas to taste! (Here the measures are for about 1l of cocktail, each time shared in ‘moderate’ servings between about 8 people)

Preparation of ingredients

To prepare the special ingredients in these cocktails I bought some 100ml bottles from IKEA, not strictly food grade plastic but I kept them in the fridge and didn’t store my shower gel in them prior to use. I prepared the following special ice drops, in the style of dippin’ dots by freezing droplets of liquid one (or several) at a time in liquid nitrogen.

Mint: 1 packet of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped and gently boiled for about 10 minutes in a water with two tablespoons of added sugar. The resulting green liquid was allowed to cool, poured into the 100ml bottle and refrigerated until it was used with the nitrogen.

Lemon: 100ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice, poured into the bottle and refrigerated.

Lime: 100ml of freshly squeezed lime juice, poured into the bottle and refrigerated.

Cassis: 100ml of cassis poured from the glass bottle in to the plastic one and refrigerated.

The freezing

My awesome friend in the cryo lab prepared me a small bucket of liquid nitrogen and also a mug (metal, to avoid it exploding with the change in temperatures). The dots were made by dropping small amounts of liquid out of each bottle (one flavour at a time) into a ladle in the liquid nitrogen and the mug which was half full. Once each dropplet had stopped boiling the surrounding nitrogen they sank to the bottom and were collected into tupperwares (one tupperware for each flavour to avoid confusion). The process was repeated until all the tupperware was full, when the full batch was rushed to the freezer in my house. Despite the effort the cassis drops still turned back into a liquid when chilled to -25C in my domestic freezer. Fortunately everything else remained frozen!

Liquid nitrogen ice drops

The result of the liquid nitrogen drop freezing process

Awesome drinks

Kir Breton – 4.5% brut breton cider (chilled) poured into a fluted glass, with a teaspoons worth of cassis carefully poured in so that it settles at the bottom to look cool. You could use super cooled pearls of cassis, however experience shows that these have an annoying tendancy to melt in the freezer. Unless you have liquid nitrogen freely available best stick to the regular version.

Molecular Mojito – Dark rum and sugar with spherical mint and lime ice cubes. Pour 4 jiggers of dark rum, a cup of ice and 2 table spoons of sugar into the cocktail shaker. Shake. Half fill the jug with ice and strain the contents of the shaker into it. Add pearls of liquid nitrogen frozen mint and lime, about 50ml equivalent volume and top up with lemonade. Stir and garnish with a sprig of fresh lime.

Dr. Pepper Freeze Ray – Amaretto and Coca-Cola instantly frozen, topped off with beer. For this one you need to start early, by putting a 0.5l bottle of Coca-Cola in the freezer about 3 hours before you intend to serve it. For best results put in a few bottles and let them all chill down to just above freezing point. When you’re ready to serve the cocktail pull out the one which is hopefully still liquid, but not frozen. Release the gas by twisting the cap gently, then re-tighten and turn upside down. The coke should turn into an instant slushie inside the bottle within about 3 seconds. Once it’s slushified, squeeze out into the empty jug. Add 4 jiggers of amaretto and top off with the chilled beer of your choice. Despite the slightly odd combination of coke and beer, this was probably the favourite cocktail of my first batch of guinea pigs. Here is a video of the first attempt to do ‘insta-freeze’ using some bottled mineral water.

Atomic G&T – Tonic water with Gin and atomised lemon drops. Half fill the jug with ice cubes and add 3.5 jiggers of gin and the equivalent of about 40ml of liquid nitrogen frozen lemon drops. Top off with tonic, stir and serve. On the first test-drive the lemony hit from the frozen drops was rather intense, so I’ve toned down the quantity.

Slightly more ordinary drinks

There’s nothing particularly special here beyond what you can already find on the internet and (even) in books about these standard cocktails.
 Long Island Iced Tea – Vodka,  Tequila, Gin and Grand Marnier with Coca-Cola
Cosmopolitan – Vodka, Cointreau, Lime and Cranberry
Pina Colada – Rum, Coconut and Pineapple
White Russian – Vodka, Kaluha and milk
Blue Lagoon – Vodka, Blue Curacao and lemonade garnished with a cherry

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