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Cryo-concentration is The Secret For Perfectly Ripe Pineapples!

Green pineapple next to  ripe pineapple

Hello, Friends of Cocktails. Do you sometimes think “I wish my pineapple tasted like it just got picked from the vine, fully ripened and delicious”, but all you can get is the green version of a pineapple that's been picked weeks before it was ripe? Well, if you’re not in the tropics the pineapples you get present a compromise for two reasons: a pineapple will never become any riper than it was when harvested, and a fully ripe pineapple is too fragile to be shipped long distances as they’re subject to bruising and rotting.

Pineapples delivered by jet are one solution, but they aren’t always available either… and they’re super expensive. But don’t worry, there’s a way to make your green pineapple taste like it just came from the tropics: freezing it! This will remove some water, making the juice taste sweeter. Yes, you could do it by simmering the juice in a pan, but even low heat can drastically alter the flavor of delicate ingredients like fruit juice.

This is called freeze-distillation, freeze-ripening, jacking, or cryo concentration, and it was modernized by Dr. Bruno Goussault - also known as the father of sous vide. But when it comes to cocktails, there’s one bar that does freezing techniques better than anyone - Panda & Sons in Edinburgh. So when Iain McPherson created their award-winning menu called Transcend, he of course used cryo concentration as well.

This menu is full of revolutionary freezing techniques and amazing cocktails like Sous Pression, which we’ve covered before. If you want to hear more about the technique, make sure to check out the full episode on YouTube for an interview with Iain himself, but we’ll nowl look at how to cryo-concentrate pineapple. I’ll also give you a few cocktail ideas on what to do with this super-charged pineapple juice, and even how to use the leftover water. If you’re interested, It’s Cocktail Time!

Frozen pineapple juice to ripen it thanks to cryo-concentration

Just like when you make clear ice, directional freezing will again freeze the water particles at the top first, pushing everything else to the bottom. With our pineapple juice it will of course be more than just impurities and air particles in the water, but also all the flavor, sugar and acid. And if you want to make sure you get the right amounts of sugar and acids in the cryo-concentrated juice you’ll also need these two geeky gadgets - a Brix Refractometer and a pH Meter.

Now, before I finally juice this pineapple - this technique of course works with plenty of other fruits and vegetables. Panda&Sons use grapefruit and tomato juices, so feel free to play around and let me know how it goes!

Cryo-concentrated Pineapple Juice

● Juice of 1 Unripe Pineapple

● 1 Insulated Cooler

I’ll transfer our juiced pineapple into the isolated cooler, with the lid removed, and we can take first measurements, just to see where we’re at with this particular batch of pineapples in regards to sugar and acids. My readings show 11 Brix, meaning there’s 11 grams of sugar in every 100 grams of solution, and a pH level of 3.17, which is quite acidic. As we’ll decrease the water content, the ratio of sugar and acids will of course increase.

Our cooler’s capacity is 5 liters, but there’s no need to fill it all the way up. And if you want to try how cryo-concentration enhances the flavor of juice you can even try this technique with store bought juice. Also in case you’re wondering, I’ve shown how to use the peels to make an oleo saccharum in the DIY Pineapple Cordial episode, and pineapple leather with the pulp when making the Horchata Pina Colada, so now I’m thinking I could do an episode for all the different things you could do with 1 pineapple.

Back to juicing, now place the insulated cooler in the freezer and wait. With my setup I left it there for 24 hours, and we’ll remove the juice from the freezer, before it freezes all the way through. But even if that happens, you can just place the whole ice block on a large strainer and the concentrated juice will melt before water - you just need to stop the straining in time. The one I made froze perfectly, so cutting into the ice, removing the frozen water and straining out the concentrated juice was enough.

With a quick taste test it’s quickly clear we have delicious, intensified flavor, like you just juiced the ripest pineapple of your life. Remember not to throw away the frozen water part, because it still has some flavor in it, which we’ll use for a low-ABV cocktail. You could continue with the cryo-concentration process of this juice, and make a natural cordial when the acids, sugar and flavor hit the right level. But we’re moving on.

To get scientific and check for the level of sugar and acids again we need to let this come to room temperature, which will ensure the correct measurements, this way we can always make sure we’re getting a consistent level of ripeness from our juice. A ripe pineapple will have around 15-18 brix, and we got 15 from this one, with a pH of 3.17. I’ve done this process 3 times all together and always got similar results, so even if you don’t have these tools, you can follow this recipe and expect the same.

We'll need the Brix level to create ingredients from this juice, so note it down for later. Our freeze-ripened pineapple juice will give any cocktail an intense, boosted pineapple flavor, but since we made quite a lot of juice I’ll also show you how you can turn it into precisely measured 1:1 and 2:1 pineapple syrups by adding just the right amounts of sugar… Well, right after I swizzle the Chartreuse Swizzle of course!

Chartreuse Swizzle

● 37.5mL (1.25oz) Green Chartreuse

● 15mL (0.5oz) Velvet Falernum

● 30mL (1oz) Cryo-concentrated Pineapple Juice

● 22.5mL (0.75oz) Lime Juice

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

Into a glass add your ingredients, fill with crushed ice and swizzle with a swizzle stick or a bar spoon. Now garnish with pineapple spears and that’s it, cheers! Not only beautiful, but this interesting combination of ingredients works together incredibly well. Chartreuse pairs seamlessly with our super sweet pineapple and the spiced falernum. Tangy lime and plenty of ice balance everything out and you’ll keep combing back, sip after sip.

Now, you could just make many of these, but I’ll show you an easy way to make cryo-pineapple syrups, while always nailing the right amount of sugar. To do that I added new Syrup Calculators for juices that already have sugar in them. You just need to type the BRIX and weight of the juice you’re using, and you’ll get the amount of sugar you need to add based on the type of syrup you’re making, whether 1:1 or 2:1.

Cryo-concentrated Pineapple Simple Syrup

● 200g Cryo-concentrated Pineapple Juice

● 140g Sugar

Cryo-concentrated Pineapple Rich Syrup

● 200g Cryo-concentrated Pineapple Juice

● 310g Sugar

These combinations will get us to 50 and 67 brix respectively, corresponding to simple and rich syrups. You could just stir the liquid and the sugar until dissolvev, but I want it to last a little longer, so heating it past the pasteurization point will help with that. Then all you need to do is bottle, add a label and that’s it. With that done, I’ll show you how to make the Pineapple Daiquiri using the 1:1 cryo-pineapple syrup, super lime juice, light rum and saline solution.

Pineapple Daiquiri

● 60mL (2oz) Light Rum

● 22,5mL (0,75oz) Super Lime Juice

● 22,5mL (0,75oz) Cryo-concentrated Pineapple Simple Syrup

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

Add your ingredients into a chilled shaker, shake hard with plenty of ice and double strain into a well chilled coupe glass. For the crown of the cocktail, add a small pineapple leaf on the rim of the glass - beautiful! I don’t think there’s much I can say about how great the combination of rum, lime and pineapple is. A great variation of the Daiquiri that will bring you summer vibes with every sip.

For the 2:1 syrup you could make a great tropical Old Fashioned or even a Mint Julep, but I’ll share a Pisco Punch recipe in this week’s Newsletter, called The Cocktail Times. Check out past issues and sign up for new ones here on , and before you know it you’ll reach the Bottom of The Glass! This week, as a thank you for making it till the end, another quick cocktail recipe, with the leftover pineapple water.

The leftover water still has some sugar, acid, and pineapple flavor, and we’ll mix that with our DIY Coconut Rum Liqueur from a few episodes ago, into an easy tropical highball.

Tropical Highball

● 90mL (3oz) Carbonated Pineapple Water

● 45mL (1.5oz) Coconut Rum Liqueur

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

Add the strained pineapple water into a soda siphon and charge it with a CO2 charger. Shake a few times and place in the fridge for 10 minutes, for the foam to settle. Then we’ll release the gas, with a glass over the spout to prevent any mess, and make sure it’s fully de-gassed before you open the siphon, and you’re ready to combine the two ingredients in a chilled highball glass filled with ice. Add a lime wedge for garnish, mix the ingredients with a gentle lift from a barspoon, and that’s it. Cheers!

Simple, elegant, and delicious. This one is dedicated to our newest Wall of Fame Patreon Supporter, Eric Lindstrand. Thank you Eric and welcome to the set of Cocktail Time with your very own brick.

I’ll see you next week. Cheers!


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