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Agar-Agar Clarification

Not often, I am posting here things, which are clearly not my ideas...
However Dave Arnold is clearly a mad scientist [no, he really is!] - and he posted amazing stuff on his website - no - don't click now - just follow the link later.

One of the most impressive posts about mixology, besides of demystifying the mechanics of shaking, were clarification techniques.

Look, after him, you could use a centrifuge [which would set you back a couple thousand bucks] and a chemical compound, which solidifies sediments. I am not a fan of that.
Then there is gelatine clarification; this works quite well [I tried it several times my self] - you gelatinize a liquid [with little gelatine only], freeze it, thaw it [in the fridge] over a colander and a muslin cloth. Thats it.
Unfortunately this has several problems:

  • Gelatine is made out of animal bones - hence it is neither vegetarian nor vegan, which you won't usually expect of a beverage.
  • You have to freeze the liquid - so you have to have enough freezing space - and even more important, it becomes very difficult to freeze alcohol beverages - and then you have to put it into the fridge, which again eats a lot of space.
Dave Arnold had the same notions. And came up with Agar-Agar clarification - for now, one of the most accomplished clarification methods of all times!

How does it work?
  1. Weigh all ingredients
  2. Hydrated agar-agar in water and cook it until agar-agar is fully dissolved
  3. Add "to_be_clarified" liquid to the agar-agar solution
  4. Chill it down [ice bath]
  5. Stir jellied liquid with a whisk
  6. Strain the whole mess with a muslin cloth / cheese cloth
  7. Massage the cloth to get most of the clarified liquid out of it, but don't squeeze jelly out of it.
  8. Voilà!
Now it is almost that easy. 

You should only consider the proportions: you need to use 0.2% agar-agar for your liquid; 1 part of water on 4 parts of liquid to be clarified [e.g. juice]. And while you mix the juice with the agar-agar water, it should not drop under 35ºC.

What can you do with the clarified juice?
A lot. Think about clarified lemon or lime juice. Doesn't really change much the taste, but the cocktail might look prettier...

Much much more interesting would be a transparent Mimosa. This would be really cool - taste like champagne and orange juice, but doesn't look like [and why not carbonizing the orange juice, which would be even cooler]. 

Or you could clarify liqueurs, or sodas. 

Sky is the limit - thanks to Mr. Arnold!


  1. Is that 0.2% by volume or by weight?

    1. Hi Ellen,
      sorry, just seen your comment now... It is definitely 0.2% by weight [as agar-agar comes into different forms like powder, sheets, etc, as well as needs to be measured in very small amounts, it isn't really practical to measure in volume!
      Thanks for reading!

  2. If clarifying any alcohol liquid, does the agar-agar solution add water to it? Thanks for the info.

    1. It adds for sure some water to it. But it might be negligible..

  3. How accurate should my scale be? Do I need to use a milligram scale or is .01 accuracy ok?


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