The Cedar – Gin, Pear, Cedar Air, Chamomile, Cacao Earth

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The "Cedar", a signature cocktail from Chef Frankie Solarik at BarChef in Toronto, is a modernist cocktail with complex flavor and spectacular presentation designed to indulge your senses.

This eat-and-drink molecular mixology creation consists of a base of pear brandy and gin, chamomile syrup, fennel and chamomile bitter, cacao earth, cedar air and pear discs. You'll be surprised by tasting cedar,  a component that you would usually smell rather than "taste".

The cedar molecular mixology cocktail

Photo by Leanne Neufeld

BarChef is the ultimate cocktail experience. It’s an adventure for the senses, providing a textual and sensual journey for the palate as well as the eyes. In fact, Food and Wine Magazine recently named BarChef one of the “top seven new and innovative bars in the world.”

With more than 5,000 oz of homemade bitters aging on the shelves, they know how to bring a range of flavors to life in a cocktail glass. Co-owned by Chef Frankie Solarik and Brent VanderVeen, BarChef has made a huge splash. Not just on the Toronto bar scene, but in the culinary world. Chef Frankie Solarik is the mastermind behind the innovative concoctions, of which he says, “Our objective is to challenge the conventional notion and boundaries of the cocktail experience.”

Chef Solarik has been profiled by many major publications including, CNN, National Post, and Globe and Mail. He’s also been a guest judge on Top Chef Canada and has been seen on Global TV, Toronto Live, and CBC. Chef Solarik recently published a cookbook The Bar Chef: A Modern Approach to Cocktails featuring some of his favorite cocktails from BarChef including, “The Black Truffle”, “The Cedar”, and “The Caramel”.

Solarik’s idea, presenting a drink as a dish, is a way to compose and present cocktails that have the same appeal as a beautifully plated entrée. Adding a bit of whimsy or texture to a “dish” adds an artistic challenge that transcends a glass filled with liquid. At BarChef, Solarik will continue to innovate and progress in his approach to mixology. The menu is divided into several sections, including punch bowls, sweet and sour, and even a molecular program, which Solarik confesses is his favorite.  With ingredients like chamomile syrup and cedar air, your cocktail will not only be interesting to look at, it will take you on a journey of smells and tastes that is unforgettable.

The cedar modernist mixology cocktail zoom

Photo by Leanne Neufeld

Ingredients for The "Cedar"

- 1oz Pear Eau de vie

- 1 1/2oz London dry gin

- 1/2oz chamomile syrup (recipe below)

- 1/4oz fennel and chamomile bitter (recipe below)

- Small cedar or juniper branch.

Ingredients for chamomile and fennel bitter

- 1 cup chamomile flowers

- 2 liqourice root sticks

- 20g cardamom

- 30g fennel

- gin (to top)

Ingredients for Cacao “earth”

- 1 cup cacao nibs

Ingredients for Cedar air

- 3 cups water

- 8 drops Virginia cedar hydrosol

- 0.8g soy lecithin

Ingredients for Pear disks

-1 Bartlett pear

Ingredients for Chamomile syrup

- ½ cup chamomile flowers

- 1 liter water

- 2 cups sugar

Preparation

Chamomile and fennel bitter

1- In 60 oz infusion jar, place chamomile flowers, 2 liquorice root sticks, 20 grams cardamom, 30 grams fennel, top with gin.

2- Let it infuse for 3 months.

3- Strain, and serve.

Cacao "earth"

1- Place the cacao nibs in a food processor.

2- Blend until soil like texture is achieved.

3- Store in airtight container until needed.

Cedar Air

1- In container, place 3 cups water and 8 drops Virginia cedar hydrosol.

2- Add .8 grams soy lecithin.

3- Blend using immersion blender until lecithin is completely dissolved

4- Next, with the immersion blender, blend surface area of liquid until bubbles are formed, let set for 1 minute, serve as needed. First time making airs? Watch this video

Pear Discs

1- Using 2cm diameter ring moulds, cut out five disks out of ripe Bartlett pear approximately 1cm thick, making sure to not get any core or seeds.

Chamomile syrup

1- In pot place ½ cup of dried chamomile flowers, 1 litre of water and 2 cups of sugar

2- Simmer until sugar is dissolved, let steep for 20 minutes.

3- Strain and let sit to achieve room temperature.

Assembly of “The Cedar”

1- First place ice and water into “whisky snifter” or regular cognac snifter if available.

2- Next place the gin, pear eau de vie, chamomile syrup, fennel and chamomile bitter in shaker with ice, stir until chilled.

3- Discard water and ice from “whisky snifter” and fine strain the cocktail from shaker into glass over spherical ice.  Garnish ice with 4 drops cedar hydrosol.

4- Using small paint brush, paint the ½ of the interior rim of the glass with a light amount of the Virginia cedar hydrosol, set cocktail aside.

5- In service piece, lightly dust surface area of service piece, place ½ cup cacao “earth” spread evenly on surface area.

6- Next place 5 pear disks on cacao “earth” in a straight line on a 45 degree angle.

7- Next place cocktail in indented part of wooden service piece.

8- Place 2 dollops of cedar air directly onto cacao “earth”.

9- Place small cedar branch or rosemary on plate.

10- Serve with small dessert service ware.

11- When served instruct guest to pick up pear disks using fork and swipe through cedar air before eating.

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