Erin Petersen
Experimental Happy Hour

“Molecular Mondays” at Bar 360

By - Jun 3rd, 2011 02:37 am
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The X-tini. Photo courtesy Potowatomi Bingo Casino/Bar 360

Just in time for summer, which just beckons for the perfect warm-weather beverage, Potawatomi Bingo Casino’s Bar 360 launches a new line of fruity libations. Think cucumber or pineapple infused vodkas, Bailey’s whipped cream and martinis garnished with pearls of pomegranate liqueur.

The flavors are rather sweet, typically featuring berry or citrus liquors and fruit juices. Picking up on one of the newer trends in alcohol infusions, Bar 360 also features liqueur-flavored whipped creams like Bailey’s Irish Cream or Godiva for after-dinner drinks. With items like the Candy Bar-tini, you can expect a richer, more decadent drink.

Inspired by similar ‘caviar cocktails,’ Molecular Mondays features a variety of fruity martinis, each garnished with juicy, liqueur filled orbs. Imagine a cocktail meeting a science experiment, and you’re pretty close to Beverage Operations Manager Christian Damiano’s vision for the new menu.

The Flirty Lady, served exclusively at Dream Dance Steak

Upon arriving, I was greeted by a “Flirty Lady” – a flute of crisp Saracco Moscato, dancing with little pearls of Chambord. Other cocktails, like the Green Gossip, feature citrus flavored vodkas mixed with pineapple juice and emerald-colored beads of Midori melon liqueur.

“We wanted this to be something that sets us apart in the state, if not in the Midwest,” said Damiano, as he explained the process for creating these caviar cocktails at a menu preview Thursday evening.

Damiano narrated as a bartender showed the crowd just how the magical, boozey beads were made. Taking cues from Molecular Gastronomy, the liqueur of choice is mixed with a pre-determined amount of alginate, an edible derivative of brown algae that forms a sort of viscous gum when combined with liquid. Once the mixture is emulsified, it’s strained into a squeeze bottle or syringe and dispensed, drop by drop, into a bath of water and calcium chloride (a firming agent). The amount of time spent in the calcium chloride also dictates the texture — a shorter bath means a softer consistency, while a longer bath results in what Damiano says is something on par with gummy candy.

The ‘caviar’ at Bar 360 is on the softer side, however, and after a short stint in calcium chloride, they are strained into cold water and then seeped in a shallow bowl of their respective liquers.

Though a seemingly simple process, Damiano says it took a lot of trial and error to get the flavor, color and texture just right.

The end result is definitely eye pleasing, adding an interesting element to a summery cocktail.

Molecular Mondays launches June 6 at Bar 360 and continues each Monday from 6-11 p.m. For more information, click here.

Categories: Dining

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