Hidden behind a large glass mirror in the schools office on the 2nd floor training bar you will discover a prohibition-style lounge, reminiscence of the 1920s, where ladies would feel right at home in a cloche hat and flapper dress, and men in flat caps and braces. Head up to the 5th floor classroom bar and you will find another hidden back room – the ‘Artisan Bar Lab’. However, you may want to don a white lab coat before entering into this mixologist’s dream laboratory. Centrifuge, vacuum, immersion circulator, magnetic stirrers, dehydrator, sous vide, smoking guns, glass froster, scales beakers, bitter bottles, funnels, can sealer, and the list goes on. However, taking center stage is the Rotary Evaporator.
A Rotary Evaporator (rotovap) is essentially a still that uses a gentler approach to distillation, under a vacuum, unlike the standard distillation method of using heat. The vacuum lowers the boiling temperature of the liquid allowing distillation of liquids at temperatures as low as 30 degrees Celsius. The process extracts the volatile aroma and flavor molecules from mixtures gently and at low temperatures, preserving the extraction of delicate aromas and flavors of the ingredients, that are usually lost in high heat distillation.
In the kitchen it is used to concentrate flavors; whereas in mixology it is commonly used to create syrups, bitters, and tinctures for cocktails.