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Drinks in the age of fake news

I like Punch. It is an online magazine about drinks. About cocktails. Mostly cutting edge. It is an inspiration.

One of their latest article made me wonder: 
Look, my routine of making drinks involves quite unique techniques (compared to a normal "mixologist"). Techniques include using immersion circulators (precision "cooking"), using a vacuum pump and off course vacuum sealers and so on. But Microwaving stuff? Nope.

So I read this article - and unfortunately Ryan Chetiyawardana is squabbling quite a lot of sciency gibberish - which the editor of the article just loves to "take in" and spread.

From my perspective, the microwave oven just offers one particular advantage: it heats up liquids quickly. To be honest, I love to cook things in the microwave (vegetables are steamed perfectly in a  microwave and it is quicker and easier than anything else!) - but it failed to impress me, for cocktails.

Probably because I am using a far more exact version of the same technique: I am using an immersion circulator to heat things (and infuse them quickly - but also far more controlled). Heat is the magic here - and other than on the stove, where a closed container is pretty awkward (you are risking that some of your alcohol is evaporating - or even overcooking) - you heat quickly in the microwave and afterwards it is chilling down. 

The sous vide technique though is far more exact, and you have tons of more flexibility (different cell walls are breaking down in different ways at different temperatures, there are enzymes, which are becoming active at some specific temperatures and so on).

Hence in Ryan Chetiyawardana case, he used the Microwave as "clickbait" or shocker, so people get more excited about his techniques.

Can you do something unique in the microwave? I nuked a small piece of oak (ex-Jack Daniels barrel) in  the microwave for 2 minutes - and it started to smoke like insane. Perfect to smoke your meat or fish - but the piece of wood also broke from inside out, which made it perfect for an oak infusion (I put the still hot wood into the Sazerac whisky). This should be an interesting experiment (but being  me, I put it into a 63ºC water-bath for a quick infusion). The microwave did here, what a normal heating method simply could not do: changing the structure of the oak (not sure if I should recommend this technique though  - 2 minutes seemed to be a pretty long time and resulted into a lot of rather intense smoke, which filled my apartment...).
This is really something, I am persuading.

For Chetiyawardana mythical claims, I am very very careful - and rather very critical. I haven't heard of any large food company, which uses microwaves to "smoothen" flavors (...) - and they would be the first ones which would use tech like that... and there is little scientific reality, which supports his shamanic faux scientific explanation.

But... what do you think?



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