In today's Curious Cook column in the New York Times, I write about a distillation method for concentrating aromas that keeps them especially fresh. Vacuum or cold distillation is being used to manufacture distinctive new gins, and chefs and bartenders are adapting a tabletop lab device called a rotary evaporator to create startling new dishes and drinks. This exploration is going on in Europe and Asia, but not openly in the U.S., where distillations involving alcohol are effectively illegal. David Arnold, leading rotovap jockey and director of culinary technology at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, describes the virtues of vacuum distillation and why he thinks it should be legal.
Arnold, D. Rotary evaporation in the kitchen
Greer, D. et al. Comparison of a novel distillation method versus a traditional distillation method in a model gin system using liquid/liquid extraction. J. Agric. Food Chemistry 2008, 56: 9030-36.