Looking beyond shakers and muddlers, the most advanced mixologists are now using unusual tools like sous vide water baths, vacuum pots and even paint-can shakers to expand their repertoires of delicious cocktails.
In New York City at Momofuku Ssäm Bar's new experimental bar annex, Booker and Dax, the French Culinary Institute's director of culinary technology Dave Arnold has brought in cutting-edge equipment. Though some of Arnold's techniques are captivating for patrons—the Red Hot Poker, for instance, rapidly heats winter cocktails before your eyes—he's less concerned about showmanship. "The concept of the bar is to use any means at our disposal to make delicious drinks," Arnold says. "We're not primarily focused on interesting presentation."
The Bangkok Daiquiri is one of Arnold's favorite examples. By employing technology he calls "nitro muddling," his team can avoid the unpleasant side of muddled herbs: namely, pieces of bruised, dull-colored vegetation getting caught in your straw or your teeth. In a mixing tin, he pours liquid nitrogen over fresh Thai basil, freezing it. The frozen basil is muddled with rum, topped with lime juice and simple syrup, then shaken. When the drink is strained through a tea strainer into a glass (pre-chilled with liquid nitrogen), only minute flecks of vividly green basil come through.