Dave Arnold is well-known as the cocktail world’s lovable mad scientist. The man behind Manhattan's much-loved (and sadly closed) Booker and Dax has impressed curious drinkers with a mastery of techniques most of us feel a master’s degree short of even being able to attempt. But at the same time, he has worked to demystify those techniques and bring them into people’s homes. Liquid Intelligence, his beautiful tome on the science of making drinks, offers an excellent education, but he’s also developed hardware.
Now, Arnold and his team have a new addition to their growing product line: the Spinzall is Arnold’s home centrifuge, roughly the size of a food processor, capable of everything from extracting potent flavors from greens to making fresh butter in just a little more time than it takes to toast bread.
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Centrifuges are not new tools in kitchens and bars. They have been workhorses at landmark restaurants like WD~50 and the Fat Duck, but as Arnold pointed out to me, they have never really been practical to have in a home kitchen. “They generally weigh about 200 pounds, plus another 100 pounds for an attached refrigerator” he said, before stretching out his arms about as wide as he could to indicate how much space commercial centrifuges take up. The kinds used in labs and most restaurants also require balancing, a tough task for inexperienced users.
The Spinzall has none of those shortcomings. It’s also surprisingly simple to use. To make butter, for example, Arnold simply poured about a pint of cream into the rotor (that’s the bowl part of the centrifuge), turned it on and waited for the forces at work to pull the solids away from the liquid. 15 minutes later, we were eating.
He also made me an herb oil using one other nice feature of the machine—its continuous feeding capability. He stuck a plastic tube into a jar full of a blended mix of and sunflower oil, turned on the Spinzall and waited while it automatically sucked up the puree, spun it and spit out the most concentrated flavored oil you can imagine. It’s not quite a “set it and forget it,” operation, but it’s nice that you don’t have to hover over the centrifuge while its working.
The centrifuge may not reach the levels of ubiquity of other small appliances—it’s a very specialized tool. But it’s certainly a fun addition for anyone who really means it when they say they like to experiment in the kitchen.
The Spinzall is available for presale now at Modernist Pantry for $699.