The Other MM

In tomorrow’s (Wednesday) New York Times, a lengthy story in the food section about the trend toward molecular mixology. If you’re new to the idea, that’s the whole approach to using the magic of modern chemistry to convert cocktail ingredients into foams, jellies, beads, etc., in the pursuit of a more interesting drink.

While I’m typically skeptical of stuff like this, viewing it as 90 percent gimmick, the geek in me is kind of awed at the things being created; and, as much of this work is being done at restaurants and bars that take cuisine seriously, some of the ingredients and flavors that are being put together are pretty respectable — and, in my view, anything that gets people to try more adventurous drinks than a simple cosmo or a vodka martini can’t be all bad. (The story also gets in a sideways dig at vodka and Red Bull, and that’s nice to see in a pub like the NYT).

Read it here (registration required): Two Parts Vodka, a Twist of Science

5 Responses to The Other MM

  1. Jamie says:

    I do agree with you on the fact that MM is gimmicky, but I can personally vouch for the foams (a drink class that I’ve dubbed “Clouds”). They are visually appealing, easy to make, and are a great stepping stone from Cosmo to Manhattan. My Georgetown Cloud has taken more than one Cosmo drinker aback when I explain that if you were to take away my peach bitters foam, they would essentially be left with a Bourbon Manhattan (I use Cinzanno Orancio instead of Cinzanno Rosso). Anything I can do to take the trainng wheels off of their vodka bicycle….

  2. [...] I see a few others have already posted about this article, and the topic of molecular mixology, and the opinions are quite varied. Some view it as gimmicky or just for show, while others really embrace the crazy things you can do with a few chemcials and some time. Such innovations, good or bad, can only be good for a budding community. [...]

  3. That leather-infused bourbon really intrigues me, although I don’t really think of infusions as “molecular.”

  4. Darcy says:

    Molecular Mixology is interesting. I like the idea of bringing science to cocktails, but a lot of what is going on isn’t really scientic so much as trying unique things with scientific tools. Some ideas work out well, like the foams which are cool, but gin flavoured jello? I suppose someone, somewhere will like it.

    For true molecular mixology, and this is something I’m working on, you need to modify the molecules in the drink to do something cool. For example, having a drink change colour while you drink it. When you serve it, it’s blue, two minutes later it is purple and then a few minutes later it’s green. Novelty item yes, but sometimes cocktails are just there to start a conversation and what better way to do it than with a little magic, I mean chemistry.

  5. Paul says:

    I’d spotted the Georgetown Cloud on Jamie’s website, and I’m impressed to hear that it helps get customers to experiment a little.

    As I said in my post, I’m typically skeptical of stuff like this, as it’s ripe for gimmicky huckstering, but there are bartenders out there who are intent on using the technology to create something that doesn’t just look, feel and seem cool, but has a firm culinary-cocktail base as well. There will always be resistance to changing things that don’t really need to be changed, especially among purists such as me, but I think as long as we keep it in perspective that this is one extension or component of the mixological arts, molecular mixology could prove to have some interesting long-term results. As Dave Wondrich says in the NYT article, “I think it needs time to filter into what is doable, what is satisfying and what is just for show.”

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