It’s a rarity these days to find a celebratory event without a few bottles of bubbly. Something about fizz signifies a joyous occasion. But can we elevate mixed drinks to meet this celebration status?
WHY DO WE LIKE BUBBLES?
There’s more to a glass of fizz than meets the eye. The drinks’ carbonation adds visual and aural anticipation, the taste lightens a drink, and the effect of bubbles can put you in a good mood.
The euphoria of bubbles isn’t just in the look. The bubbles are like a party in a glass, and as they bounce around, they pick up the aromatic profile of the drink, popping on the surface to deliver a bouquet of scent right under your nose.
The Co2 released from the froth bursting onto your tongue tickles your nerve endings, creating a sensation of pleasure. The same pain receptors in our brains fire as when we eat very spicy foods giving us a tingle of thrill.
When each bubble bursts, it releases more flavour, adding variation and depth to the drink. As well as satisfying tastebuds, fizz works as an aperitif. When the bubbles erupt in your mouth, you begin to salivate. This tells your stomach that you’re ready for some food and tells your brain to take more notice of flavour.
The cooler the temperature, the better when it comes to a carbonated drink. Co2 dissolves in cold drinks, only releasing when it warms up. That’s why Champagne can fizz up when you first open it — the warm air hits the neck of the bottle and releases all the dissolved gas particles at once. If you leave a fizzy drink to warm up and go flat, you lose the bubbles but also flatten the flavour. Without the gas, the drink becomes less acidic, which means you’ll pick up sweeter notes, throwing off the balance.
ADDING CARBONATION AND FIZZ TO COCKTAILS
The Cocktail Trading Company (CTC) began working on carbonated cocktails because owner Elliot Ball wants to elevate the guest’s enjoyment of a drink. People come to his bar to have a good time and often, to celebrate. What they taste can have a big part in their mood and making the evening more memorable.
Elliot and his team have tried to step away from classic methods of thinking and have a go at doing things differently. They’ve been exploring and experimenting with a gas rig.
Carbonation is essentially the process of getting carbon dioxide imparted into a liquid. When adding Co2 to a drink under pressure, it creates fizz. The more gas you have, the more pressurisation can occur. You need to keep the amount of gas per volume of liquid balanced to not overpower one element over the other.
There are several industry-standard methods of adding Co2 to a drink. You can add already carbonated ingredients into a cocktail. You could attempt sugar fermentation in a sealed container or force air into still products using gas — much like traditional soda siphons for making soda water.
A gas rig is essentially a larger and arguably more dangerous version of the soda siphon-style aeration method. A canister of gas is kept under pressure until you need to use it. Co2 is released at speed from the container when you open a valve, and if you keep the journey between that gas and your drink airtight — the Co2 goes directly into your drink, making it suddenly fizzy.
In this MTV Cribs style video, Elliot will explain how to keep your gas rig safe, the perfect pressure to keep when carbonating, why he has invented a gold, silver and bronze standard for fizzing up his drinks and how a Soda Stream could be an ideal bit of kit to start experimenting with at home.