Aroma is an important component of any worthwhile culinary experience. One cannot fully appreciate a meal without a sense of smell. Mandy Aftel, a Berkeley, California based perfumer and friend of such culinary luminaries as Daniel Patterson, Harold McGee, David Chang and many others has taken it upon herself to provide scents to enhance the culinary experience. Her company, Aftelier Perfumes, makes a series of Chef’s Essences Sprays, essential oils and liquid scents in spray bottles, that are used to add aromas to plates in lieu of dried herbs and flavorings. She sent me a few to try and I enjoyed them so much, she sent me the entire line of 12 sprays.
I have found the sprays useful for cooking. A quick spritz to a finished dish of one or more sprays adds complexity without visual disruption. Where I have really had fun, though, is using them to create cocktails. A touch of one or more sprays just prior to service creates haunting notes that take the cocktail up several notches without diluting the underlying nature of the drink. I have created many in the couple of months that I have been playing with these delightful products and have documented most of them on Instagram, Twitter and facebook. Below are some of the best of those Instagram posts with recipes. Liquids are listed as ratios.
For more cocktail ideas using Chef’s Essence Sprays please follow my Instagram feed and check out my other cocktail creations. Better yet, get some Chef’s Essence Sprays and create your own. If you do, please let me know on here what you come up with!