A year ago we took some golden raisins and a bottle of vermouth and put them together in a milk jar and tucked it away. When we had Toronto Food Lab down for a visit we were fortunate that he brought along his rotary evaporator for us to work with. One of the ingredients we put through the machine was our raisin infused vermouth. What was key about this and really all of our explorations with the rotary evaporator was that we were concerned about what was left in the still pot. We wanted a controlled reduction, removing the alcohol and leaving a flavorful liquid behind. We were rewarded with our patience. The raisin-vermouthshine (forgive my typo on the labels) was a bit acrid and woodsy. The raisin-vermouth concentrate tastes like an intense sherry with the sugars of the raisins blending with the herbal notes of the vermouth. Would we have been able to get these results without a rotary evaporator? Unfortunately not. We do believe that controlled temperature evaporation allows for unsurpassed flavors, but the current cost of the equipment to achieve it is daunting for our kitchen. For now we will continue to work with the kindness with others until the rotary evaporator fairy leaves us one in the workshop.
June 1, 2005