One of the most important elements of a cocktail is its garnish, as it adds both flavour and fragrance to a drink. But it is also one of the most wasteful practices in cocktail making, as once the drink is done the garnish ends up being thrown in the trash.
To combat this, the scientists at Linden Leaf, an award-winning, flavour-led spirits company in Cambridge, has created a revolutionary way to garnish your cocktail, with a convenient atomiser.
While a number of cocktails bars have been creating their own versions of atomised citrus, Linden Leaf has used an entirely different approach to flavour discovery by identifying the exact molecules responsible for the perfect burst of fresh flavour to ensure a consistent, flavourful spray for each serve.
The new range comprises three molecular essence atomisers – Lemon, Lime and Orange, which harness the flavour of fresh, organic fruit with none of the waste. The molecules are distilled in grain alcohol to avoid any bitter aftertaste.
Sustainable, organic and crafted to an incredibly high quality, the proprietary molecular extraction process is incredibly efficient, using only a few fruits to produce a spray that can garnish over 80 drinks. Each botanical is chosen carefully on the basis of its taste and smell and is harvested at the peak of its season when flavours are at their best.
‘At Linden Leaf, we all share a passion for understanding flavour,’ said Matthew Webster, co-founder of Linden Leaf. ‘It all starts with finding the very best ingredients for what you want, the lemons with the strongest, most complex scent in their zests. That’s not only about choosing which variety of lemon to use, but also the producer who makes them and the season they’re picked – all those make a difference.”
The team utilised analysis equipment, which enables them to learn which molecules are in each extract and how each of them smells. They then built a flavour atlas which mapped out how different people perceive the smell and flavour of each molecule, as well as how those flavours interacted.
“This lets us ensure that the botanical flavour we select is as characteristic and appealing as possible while tasting as fresh as the moment it was first zested. For example, with the orange essence, we’ve pulled out the specific molecules that give the really rich deep, warm orangey-ness that you get when you twist zest from a super-ripe orange: the scent and flavour that people want when they’re adding orange to a cocktail.”
Webster points out that the team are all from scientific backgrounds and very used to dealing with huge data sets, in a way probably most craft spirits producers aren’t. “We love and respect the long tradition of distillation and the artistry of blending, and our technology helps us build on that: honing the flavours with a precision and consistency that just haven’t been possible before.”
Max Venning, co-founder of Three Sheets, consistently one of the UK’s top bars and currently #16 in World’s 50 Best Bar list, comments: “We like simple, elegant drinks with clean flavours—it needs to be simple, it needs to be delicious and it needs to be easy for the consumer to enjoy.
“Linden Leaf excites me, as they are these three scientists from Cambridge who are really into food and drink and they’re applying that scientific knowledge onto the extraction of flavours. The Cocktail Elements series really inspires me. They are taking products from their peak season, extracting exactly the flavours we want from them and then that’s available all year round in an atomiser we can spray on top of drinks.
“Lemons will change from fruit to fruit, but also will change quite dramatically from week to week. Cocktail Elements gives us absolute consistency over a long-time frame to make sure we get exactly the same drink every single time. The sprays are so special because the hyper-concentrated flavour means that we’ve got an exact replica of peak-season fruit for 12 months a year.”
There is already a trade range of Linden Leaf Cocktail Elements underway, which will use more specialist flavours like yuzu, which is difficult to source fresh year-round in London due to the tight growing season in Japan.
At present, the range is only available in the UK but there are plans to soon roll out internationally. For more information, go to lindenleaf.co.uk
- 50ml Linden Leaf #8 Organic Molecular Gin
- 10ml Dry Vermouth
- 5ml Nettle Cordial (preferably Thorncroft)
- Linden Leaf Cocktail Elements Lemon
Stir for 30 second over ice and strain into a martini glass, garnish with a spray of Cocktail Elements Lemon
- 50ml American Whisky
- 10ml Sugar syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water)
- 1 dash of Angostura Aromatic Bitters
- Linden Leaf Cocktail Elements Orange
Stir for 1 minute over ice and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with Cocktail Elements Orange.
- 50ml Linden Leaf #8 Organic Molecular Gin
- 100ml Tonic
- Linden Leaf Cocktail Elements Lime
Pour 50ml of the gin into a highball over ice and stir to chill, and extra ice to fill the glass and top with tonic. Garnish with Cocktail Elements Lime.