My grandpa is 93 years old. He drinks a glass of brandy every night. Since purchasing my rotoary evaporator, I’ve wanted to make him some brandy… here’s what happened.
A roatary evaporator (rotovap) is basically a still… as in distillation, as in moonshine. Of course, like many modern cooking apparatus, it got it’s start in laboratories. Mostly scientists use it to boil off solvents thus purifying what remains.
For much more detail on how the system works, read this. But here’s the quick nitty gritty.
Looks complicated, dosen’t it? It’s really not that bad… your raw product goes in the big bulbus flask on the right side (partially submerged in the silver water bath) you put something very cold in the tall part of the left side (coil-y thing) and a ttach a vacuum pump. Everything that is glass gets sucked under vacuum. Because of the vacuum, the stuff in the big flask on the right will boil. The “Steam” goes over to the left side, hits the cold thing-y and condenses back to a liquid. That liquid collects in the round flask on the left.
So what I **DIDN’T DO ** (because it’s frowned upon by groups like the ATF) was placed a Texas Port Wine in the big flask. Then I did not capture the distilate (a high proof white brandy) in the smaller flask.
IF I had done the above (which I didn’t;) I might have gone to my local BBQ store to get some Oak Chips… preferably from the barrels used to age Tennessee Whiskey.
I might have then toasted said oak whiskey barrel chips.
I might have then placed toasted wood chips in an iSi container with the white brandy (had I saved it) and charged it twice with N20 to rapidly infuse the flavor of the toasted barrel. Then I might have transferred all the toasted chips and rapid aged brandy into a glass container with an airtight lid and cooked it sous vide at 54.8C for 3 hours… Of course I didn’t do any of his because I didn’t distill the port into white brandy…
I imagine if you did all of that… you might end up with a finnished product that resembled this computer generated mock up.
If you tasted these you might notice that the white brandy on the left was slightly sweet with a strong grape flavor. And that after just an hour in a pressurized canister quite a bit of vanilla a toasted oak come through on the middle sample. The final sample you might find highly drinkable at around 70 proof. Toasty, with just hints of the original fruit essence.
Now, If you had a rotovap… which apparently you can build a make shift one for $100… you could evaporate port into a syrup. and since almost no heat needs to be applied you would end up with a rich “Raw” port reduction that tastes like no ther red wine reduction you’ve ever had- I’d bet it would be great on a cheese plate, or on a pear and gorgonzola pizza.
Cheers! To Grandpa Schultz!