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The Caramel – cocktail, powder, air and spheres

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This famous cocktail will be the talk of any holiday party. Smooth. Sweet. Salty. This cocktail has it all. And now you can learn the secrets of this famous molecular mixology masterpiece created by Frankie Solarik of Toronto's BarChef .

This eat-and-drink molecular mixology creation consists of caramel powder, caramel air, warm caramel sphere infused with cinnamon and topped with cardamom salt, fresh apples and a delicious warm cocktail of vanilla infused cognac, cinnamon syrup, maple bitter and salted butter. Great for any winter afternoon or as dessert!

The Caramel - molecular mixology cocktail at Barchef Toronto

The Caramel - alginate spheres

Photos by Leanne Neufeld

Ingredients for The Caramel cocktail

- 1 1/2oz vanilla cognac (recipe below)

- 1 oz cinnamon syrup (recipe below)

- 1/4 oz maple bitter (recipe below)

- 1 heaping teaspoon salted butter at room temperature

Vanilla Cognac

- 6 bourbon vanilla beans

- 60 oz cognac

Maple Bitter

- 2 cups maple syrup

- 3 licorice root

- 3 sticks cinnamon

- 30 g star anise

- 20 g clove

- 15 g black pepper corns

- 30 g fennel seed

- 30 g cumin seed

- 50 g green cardamom pods

- 60 oz rye

Cinnamon Syrup

- 1 liter water

- 2 cups sugar

- 3 sticks cinnamon

Cardamom Salt

- 2 teaspoons smoked Maldon Salt

- seeds from 8 cardamom pods


- 200 mls 35% fat cream (whipping cream)

- 3 cups sugar

- 200 ml water

Caramel Powder

- 1 cup Tapioca Maltodextrin

- 1 heaping teaspoon salted butter

- 1 heaping teaspoon melted caramel

Caramel Syrup

- 1 cup sugar

- 2 cups water

Caramel Air

- 100 ml caramel syrup

- 300 ml water

- 0.6 g soy lecithin powder

Caramel Sphere

- 500 ml distilled water

- 2.7 g sodium alginate

- 1 cup caramel

- 4 g calcium lactate gluconate

Apple Discs (per serving)

-  fresh apple cut in 3 discs

- 3 rosemary sprigs

- pinch cardamom

- pinch salt

- 3 pinch brown sugar


Preparation for vanilla infused cognac

1- In 60oz mason jar place 6 sliced vanilla beans sliced lengthwise.

2- Top with cognac.

3- Let sit approximately 2 months at room temperature, strain and serve.

Preparation for maple bitter

1- In 60oz mason jar place 2 cups maple syrup, 3 liquorice root, 3 sticks cinnamon, 30 grams star anise, 20 grams clove, 15 grams black pepper corns, 30 grams fennel seed, 30 grams cumin seed, and 30 grams green cardamom pods.

2- Top with rye.

3- Infuse for 3 months at room temperature agitating frequently, strain and serve.

Preparation for cinnamon syrup

1- In small sauce pan place 1 litre water, 2 cups sugar, and 3  4” sticks of cinnamon.

2- Simmer until sugar has dissolved, strain.

3- Sit until room temperature is achieved.

Preparation for green cardamom salt

1- For each even teaspoon of smoked Maldon salt, place seeds from 4 green cardamom pods in mortar, muddle together until dust is achieved

2- Store in airtight container.

Preparation for alginate bath for spheres

1- In plastic re-sealable container, place 500 ml water with 2.7 grams sodium alginate.

2- Blend with hand blender until all sodium alginate has dissolved.

 Preparation for caramel

1- Begin by placing 2 cups sugar in medium sized sauce pan, add 200 ml water and heat on medium heat until sugar has dissolved, stirring frequently. You will notice sugar will start to take brownish hue or caramel color.

2- In the meantime heat 200 ml of 35% fat cream under low heat just to reduce temperature variance between cream and eventual caramel.

3- Once sugar reaches appropriate temperature, you will notice that while stirring, the sugar starts to liquefy and begins to take form of caramel.

4- Once all sugar has dissolved carefully add warmed cream being very careful, making sure to stir constantly.

5- Remove from heat making sure to stir until bubbles dissipate and a nice rich creamy caramel is achieved.

6- Place in airtight container in fridge to store.

 Preparation for caramel powder

1- Begin by placing refrigerated caramel in microwave for 1 min to bring to pliable temperature.

2- In food processor, place 1 cup tapioca maltodextrin.

3- Next remove caramel from microwave and place 1 teaspoon of salted butter in microwave to melt or 30 seconds.

4- Next add melted butter to maltodextrin in food processor as well as 1 heaping teaspoon melted caramel.

5- Blend until powder texture is achieved store in airtight container until needed, lasts up to 2 days.

Preparation of caramel syrup

1- Heat sugar and 1 cup water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.

2- Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and comes to a boil.

3- Continue cooking, brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush but without stirring, until mixture becomes golden amber in color.

4- Immediately remove from heat and add 1 cup water.

5- Return to heat and continue stirring until mixture becomes liquid.

6- Transfer to a heatproof container and let cool completely before using.

 Preparation for caramel air

1- In container measure 100 ml caramel syrup, next add 300 ml water, stir until evenly mixed.

2- Next add 0.6 grams soy lecithin powder to mixture.

3- Blend using immersion blender on surface of liquid until bath bubble type foam appears on surface.

4- Let sit for 2 mins before serving to make sure air has set.

Preparation for caramel spheres

1- For 1 cup caramel, add 4 grams calcium lactate gluconate.

2- Blend until dissolved, if using stored caramel make sure to place in microwave for approximately 1 minute or until fully pliable.

3- Next using 5 ml measuring spoon, fill spoon with caramel and slowly pour into sodium alginate bath. If you find caramel stringy when alginate is dropped, use a spoon remove excess or cut “tail” from sphere.

4- Make sure to flip the sphere over every 1 to 2 mins to “cook” evenly making sure to be very gentle as not to rip or tear the membrane.

5- Next remove, using slotted spoon and rinse with warm water.

6- Next transfer spheres to air tight container with 2 cups cinnamon syrup until needed.

 Assemble and Serve

1- Begin by blending the caramel air, let rest.

2- Next cut 3 disks from an apple wheel which has been cut approximately 1 cm in thickness, place one drop of caramel syrup on each disk, garnish each disk with a pinch of cardamom and salt.

3- Skewer the apple with piece of rosemary about 3 inches long with 3 cm of bottom cleaned from leaves, skewer each disk with 1 piece of rosemary, place aside.

4- Next place 3 pinches about 2” apart of brown sugar on the right hand side of the long white plate.

5- Place 3 disks on top of each brown sugar mound.

6- Next build cocktail. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and give it a slight simmer to melt the butter but be careful not to ignite. Strain into whiskey tasting glass.

7- Place glass on far left hand side of plate.

8- Next pour caramel powder into small glass with a spoon, just enough to cover spoon.

9- Then begin to warm caramel sphere with blow torch being careful not to burn or melt the sphere membrane. Do this by keeping about 3” of distance from direct contact with the flame and sphere.

10- Once warm, place on steel canapés spoon on far right hand side of plate.

11- Garnish with cardamom salt pinch.

12- Lastly place two dollops caramel air between each space between the apple disks, serve.