Tuesday, September 16 2:00PM—3:10PMModern Cocktail Techniques: Exploring Density, Textures and Sensation Mixology Workshop
BiographyIt is no surprise mixologist Junior Merino has built his career on fusing exotic, unexpected flavors. Growing up in the culinary melting-pot of Central Mexico, Merino began cooking when he was just 10, his food-loving parents sharing with him the joys of local produce from indigenous cocoa beans and cilantro of Mediterranean origin to pomegranates native to the Middle East. His experiences instilled in him an early passion for culinary mestizaje, or blending diverse flavors. This technique – along with an intense work ethic – has resulted in Merino’s meteoric rise in the mixology field.
Following his move to New York at age 16, Merino went busboy to bartender and eventually beverage manager at Roth's Westside Steakhouse – all while attending high school and studying English and graphic design. It was at Roth's, that Merino was given the opportunity to put together his first wine and cocktail list, which won an award of excellence from Wine Spectator. Within months, he was initiated into the Court of Master Sommeliers' Guild of Sommeliers. Soon after he entered the International Bar Show's best cocktail competition in 2005, where he won first prize for his drink "Coming up Roses."
Since then, Merino has created signature cocktails for dozens of restaurants and bars around the world, including New York's Rayuela, Cafe Frida, 42 (the Ritz Carlton, White Plains, NY), Rix (Coronado Springs Resort, Walt Disney World, FL), The Modern, Oprah Winfrey's The Color Purple show, Tokyo's ANA Hotel, and Mexico City's famed Izote restaurant, among many others. Through his company “The Liquid Chef,” he has created unique cocktails for a number of liquor companies, including Leblon Cachaça and G'vine Gin. Merino received the 2006 StarChefs.com New York Rising Star Mixologist award, and has received special recognition from Mexico's government for his knowledge of Mexican ingredients. He was named Imbiber.com's “Bartender of the Month,” and was one of five winners in the international Sherry Cocktail Competition. Merino holds advanced certifications in cognac and tequila expertise, and continues to study the various types of spirits for an upcoming book slated for release in early 2009. He's currently working on a new show called "The Liquid Chef," which will air on TVAzteca.
Textures, Densities & Sensations
Mixologist Junior Merino of The Liquid Chef, Inc – New York, NY
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Yield: 1 cocktail
• 1/6 lime
• 6 mint leaves
• 2 dashes peach bitters
• ½ ounce simple syrup
• ¾ ounce Domaine de Canton
• 1½ ounce Woodford Reserve Whiskey
• 3 organic red rose petals
• ½ ounce rose syrup*
• ¾ ounce lime juice
• 1½ ounce aloe juice
• ¾ ounce Chambord
• 1½ ounce Herradura Tequila Blanco
• 1-1½ cups ice
• 2 ounces pineapple juice
• 6 ounces cantaloupe juice
• 1½ ounce lime juice
• 1½ ounce lemongrass-aloe syrup*
• 1 ounce Pastis
• 2 teaspoons granulated soy lecithin
• ½ teaspoon stabilizer
• ½ ounce xantham gum
Hibiscus-Salt Air Bubbles:
• 2 teaspoons hibiscus-rose salt*
• 3 ounces lime juice
• ¾ ounces hibiscus syrup*
• 6 ounces filtered water (bottle)
• ¾ ounces Domaine de Canton
• ½ ounce Chambord
• 2 teaspoons granulated soy lecithin
• ¼ teaspoon stabilizer
*Merino uses The Liquid Chef brand
For the Ginger Julep:
With a muddler, gently press the piece of lime and mint to release the oil from the skin of the lime and from the mint leaves. Add all the other ingredients in mixing glass, add ice, shake, and double strain with a Hawthorn strainer and a bar chinois into a special cocktail glass.
For the Aloe-Rose:
Put all the ingredients in a blender, add 1-1½ cups of ice, and blend. With a bar spoon, gently spoon a layer of the blended mixture onto the ginger julep in the base of the glass.
For the Pastis Espuma:
Put all the ingredients in a container and blend with an immersion blender until mixture is liquefied and well-integrated. Pour mixture into an iSi Whip Cream Canister, cover, and add two nitrous cartridges (cream chargers). Squeeze a layer of espuma directly on top of the aloe-rose mixture in the glass.
For the Hibiscus-Salt Air Bubbles:
Put all ingredients in container and blend with an immersion blender mixture is well-integrated. Foam by lifting the immersion blender until half of the blade is out of the liquid – this will create a layer of stable foam on the surface of the liquid. Use a bar spoon to place the bubbles on top of the layer of espuma, and serve.