So, after the red vermouth tragedy, I thought I'd deflect my exploratory smoking away from one of the main components, so as not to ruin another batch of anything. Although this doesn't qualify as "molecular" exploration, even in the culinary world, I shifted my focus onto the garnish end of things. Think "component" rather than "molecule", and you'll see where I'm headed.
I cherry-wood smoked a small batch of citrus peel. Hoping to avoid the over-smoking of the red vermouth, I just did a single burn, filling the measuring cup, then sealing it with plastic wrap and allowing the smoke to settle/dissipate/whatever naturally over the course of a few hours. By the time 5:00 rolled around, I was ready for the taste test.
Keeping my variables constant, I mixed my two base drinks -- a dry Martini and a Manhattan, ingredients as follows:
2 parts Aviation Gin
1 part Martini Extra-Dry Vermouth
Cherry-Smoked lemon peel
2 parts Dickel Rye
1 part Carpano Vermouth
Cherry-Smoked Blood Orange Peel
The effect of the smoked citrus was subtle and delightful in the drinks. It added a bit of dark-scented heft to the Martini, just a tad more body than an ultra-dry drink. A perfect addition to the winter months. In the Manhattan, it enhanced the spiciness of the orange peel, giving another dimension to my go to drink.
Next: even further off the smoked path.