Pectin is a great natural thickener that’s used by chefs to add substance and desirable mouthfeel to a wide variety of food and drink. Craft bartenders take things in the opposite direction, however. We know that taste, aroma, texture and appearance determine how we appreciate flavor. Increasing the appeal of one or all of those experiences also increases the appeal of your recipes. Pectin-free cocktail fruit juice has more intense flavor than basic juice. The clarified liquid also has a crisper mouthfeel which is a great foundation to build upon. How do mixologists work their clarifying magic? Pectinase.
Pectinase is the clear cocktail winner.
In this ChefSteps YouTube video we learn how to easily clarify fruit juice using pectinase. I really like the possibilities with this technique. Not only does it bring to mind exciting ways to elevate cocktails, but the extracted pectin fiber can be used in interesting ways too. Pectinase is a naturally-occurring enzyme that breaks down and frees pectin from its liquid suspension. After filtering the separated liquid through a Chemex filter (centrifuge optional!), you’ll have a clear, intensely-flavored fruit juice. This technique is used by mixologists to create some of their most inventive recipes. Pectinase is usually sold in small amounts since a few drops goes a long way. Just drip a little into your fruit juice, let things rest for about 30 minutes, then you’re ready to mix!
Beyond the cocktail.
When I look at piles of extracted pectin, I immediately try to think of fun ways to use it in recipes. I do the same after running fruit and veggies through my juicer (I love this thing!). I’ve had luck heating the pulp with brown sugar or honey and a little apple cider vinegar. Balsamic vinegar has worked great in place of apple cider vinegar in my experiments as well. As always, I say get creative with it!