At first it may sound unusual for renowned bartenders and star chefs to purchase laboratory equipment to process the raw materials for their drinks and dishes. In search of new and unusual impressions, however, it is necessary to break new ground away from the familiar. Just like in research in general. And that's why the use of this laboratory device is also associated with real advantages for creative persons in the kitchen and behind the counter.
The idea of extracting flavor from aromatic plants is almost as old as mankind itself: Whether for drinks or food - the aim is to bring out the most intense flavors possible. Processes that are already established in the catering industry, such as the infusion of spirits with herbs, sous-vide processes, boiling or simply juicing, also have disadvantages: Particularly sensitive flavors are destroyed by treatment with too much heat, an extremely high input of starting material is required to be able to extract sufficient flavor, or the color often changes in an undesirable way and the shelf life suffers.
All these reasons have led to the gradual introduction of rotary evaporators: their technology allows water or spirits to be gently enriched with flavors. The results are clear, highly aromatic extracts that do not contain any coloring and are extremely productive. Compared to other flavors, they also last longer.
In addition, a rotary evaporator not only enables the separation of volatile aromas. The device can also be used to intensify non-volatile aromas. The aromas of juices and sauces can be concentrated by gently reducing the water content. The advantage compared to traditional boiling down: Due to the low temperatures, heat-sensitive flavor compounds are preserved and there is no undesirable color change.
In addition, the use of a rotary evaporator allows a lower cost of goods - a real advantage, especially with high-priced ingredients such as truffles. Extraction under vacuum can extract far more flavor than using these components unprocessed, and even with significantly smaller quantities. Overripe fruits and vegetables or already wilted herbs also represent valuable carriers for aromas that can serve as the basis for extracts instead of being discarded.
These are the main reasons why more and more gastronomers are dealing with the subject of flavor management with the rotary evaporator, using it to offer their guests new, surprising taste experiences.
Teaser-Picture: ©Weisshorn Spirits Sarl, Matt the List