Distilled: Carbonated cocktails are worth the effort

By Columbus Alive
From the June 20, 2013 edition
  • Photo by Meghan Ralston

Making a carbonated cocktail isn’t easy. It may not seem like a lot of work to pop the top off a bottle, or pour a drink off a tap (similar to a draft beer), but there’s a lot customers don’t see. A few of the city’s most forward-thinking bars — M at Miranova and Manifesto Tuscan Grato & Scotch Bar regularly and Curio and Mouton, periodically — ave begun serving carbonated cocktails and deserve recognition for their effort. t takes weeks of preparation and experimentation to make that effervescent concoction you’re sipping.

“We put in the time and effort to make a quality cocktail; guests just don’t see it,” said Tom Mughan of Manifesto’s Cocktail on Tap.

Manifesto has been perfecting a carbonated, pink-and-black-peppercorn-infused-gin and house-made tonic with lavender bitters for the last few weeks. Mughan said there was a substantial amount of trial and error — even some setbacks — because there’s “not an owner’s manual” on how to make these multifaceted cocktails.

M at Miranova’s carbonated and bottled Aviation, a vibrant purple cocktail with Bombay Sapphire, violet liqueur, Luxardo and fresh lemon juice wasn’t an overnight success either. Bartender Cris Dehlavi said that eneral anager Kristen Luff spent nearly a month perfecting the carbonation levels using a Perlini System. A Perlini System carbonates cocktails individuallyand after the Aviation was bottled, itlosing carbonation a day or two. The carbonation levels had to drastically increase to ensure that the cocktail would retain its effervescence for a longer period.

So here’s the question: Is it worth all this work for a cocktail? Well if you’ve had one, you know the answer.

“The texture obviously is massive, but it really does change how you taste it and how the flavors blend,” Mughan said. “It’s night and day.”

“I think there’s just something very cool that happens when you add the bubbles … and it brightens the flavors a little bit,” Dehlavi said.

After trying the carbonated cocktails at M and Manifesto, I say the process is completely worth it. The flavors pop both individually and as a whole, resulting in something truly exceptional.