Solid Liquids: Dehydrating Liqueurs in a Food Dehydrator
A Ride-Along for the Bombay Sapphire/GQ Most Inspired Bartender Contest

Solid Liquids: Dehydrating Liqueurs in the Oven

SolidLiquidsProjectSquareLogoIn the process of making powdered liqueurs for future use, I've been trying to figure out the best method to get liquids into solids. I'll be comparing the microwave to the oven to the food dehydrator, using Campari as my first liqueur in all of them.

In today's post we'll look at using the oven. Following the suggestion of Don Lee on this eGullet thread, I purchased silicone cupcake cups to experiment with. They can be used in the microwave or oven and are easy to clean.

In all of my oven experiments, the procedure was the same. I filled the cupcake cup with 2 ounces of Campari, put it on a cookie sheet, and put it in the oven. Most of the time I cooked the liquid for 12-24 hours.

Clumpy campari in cup (2)_tn

Dehydrating Campari at 140F and 170F (in separate trials), the liqueur would dehydrate and get clumpy. I'd then squeeze the cupcake cup a bit to break up the clumps and expose any wet spots so that it would dry completely. In the end I had a combination of powder and pebble-sized clumps of dehydrated Campari.

Clumpy campari in bowl closeup_tn

At 200F I had clearly reach some sort of candying state with the sugar. It looked like it was still watery with liquid, but on further inspection it was closer to a melted lollipop- very brilliant liquid sugar. On removal from the oven it formed a hard puck shaped like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

Campari puck 200 degrees3_tn
Campari puck 200 degrees_tn

At 250F the sugar burns a bit, becoming brown in color and smelling more like molasses. It also stays liquid and forms a hard puck in the bottom of the cupcake cup.

Campari oven 250 puck2_tn
Campari oven 250 puck3_tn

On tasting after grinding these with a mortar and pestle, I found that the 250F Campari tasted like brown sugar or molasses with a bitter Campari twinge to it. It wasn't nearly as bad as I expected but I am not sure how I'd use it. Campari gingerbread cookies, perhaps?

Oven 200 vs 250_tn
(Campari cooked at 200F vs 250F)

The 200F powdered Campari had a distinctly sharp bitterness to it. The 170F Campari powder had the best and most Campari-esque flavor of all, with that great Campari brightness still present and a balance of sweetness from sugar with the heavy bitterness there too. The 140F powder was also very good, but I prefer the 170 at least on this first experiment.

Mortar and pestle3_tn

Another reason to use the lower-temperature Campari powder is that the others were harder to crush up (like crushing a lollipop instead of granola). They also seem to want to stick together. After crushing, they get clumpy. (I tried reheating at a lower temperature to see if it would stop clumping, but it just formed back into a blog and I had to re-crush it again!) Clumpy clusters are probably be fine for baking purposes, but not practical for rimming cocktail glasses. 

Ground campari2_tn

Long story short: Oven at 170F worked best for me.

In the next post, we'll look at using the microwave to dehydrate liqueur.

The Solid Liquids Project index is at this link.


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This continues to be fascinating. I'm happy you're on the case, Camper. I'm learning a lot.

Camper English


Jon Thorp

Have you given any thought into testing on practical storage and shelf-life? I ask because that last picture on this post reminds me of a pie dough right before it all comes together...It looks like it will clump up any second, but it's hard to tell the texture and consistency from the picture.

Camper English

Jon- I have found that at the 170/140 degree temperatures it doesn't get very clumpy, and you can dry it out a little more in the oven at the same temp after crushing if it still seems wet.

Shelf life - too early to see spoilage. But crystallized sugar doesn't spoil so I'm hoping this won't either.

Drinks Lab


I actually let it dry naturally, but it took a few days, I would like to keep the alcohol content, so need to research this more. For your technique I would pour it out onto a silpat tray, then break into shards and then process in a blender/processor to a fine powder.

Camper English

I think if you want to keep the alcohol in you're going to have to keep it at it's original volume. The caviar/pearl method may work for that, but not dehydration...

I have a silicone breadpan sized thing that can be used for larger quantities- won't have to worry about spilling with a slipat.


Were your dehydration times roughly the same for all of the successful liqueurs? I've had some Midori in the oven at 170 for at least 24 hours (I don't know exactly because my oven turned itself off at some point last night) and I've still got viscous liquid.

My conditions aren't exactly the same as yours; I filled alternating cells of a silicon ice cube tray with 1 oz each of Midori.

Camper English

I would think that 24 hours would have done it. Usually it's done by 15 or so. When it gets down to a viscous liquid that doesn't seem to be getting any smaller it might have formed the candy puck- when you let it dry it's just hard candy right?

I did find midori to be more touchy than other liqueurs- I failed at the stovetop method with it- but I would think that the oven at 170 would have been fine. Any updates?


When dried, the pucks were a bit flexible and seemed sticky. I let them go for quite a bit longer; the color is now too dark, and they still seem a little sticky, though harder when cooled.

However during that next stint in the oven, I poured a small amount of midori out onto a silpat, and as thin as it was that amount got brittle just fine. I may just go about it that way in the future--pour a thin layer over a lined baking sheet and cook for less time.

Stelios R

Hey! Does the sticky puck of 200F and 250F get hard enough to collapse it with the mortar after it cools down? I expected that the puck would stick in the pestle when hitting it.That's why I ask.
Thanks in advance!

Camper English

Some pucks stay a little bit gloppy/wet and you can't smash them apart. Others are more like a hard candy. You can mostly smash them with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, but the resulting stuff will stick back together right away. So you might be able to find interesting uses for it, but you won't really be able to use it like a dry sugar.

Sheev Palpatine

Hello Mr. English,

I was wondering if you think this could work with a premade cocktail such as a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned. In an earlier post you mentioned base spirits would not work unless sugar was added so if that was done pseudonaturally through a cocktail maybe it could work?

Camper English

Hi - Yes there's a good chance it will dehydrate and crystallize as long as the cocktail has sugar in it. Note that any aromatic ingredients (like citrus) would likely fizz off, as is the case for dehydrating things like triple sec.

Daniel B.

Poor liquor/liqueur of choice into a bowl of Cyclodextrin powder, wait til liquid is absorbed, & sift the mix til desired texture is reached


does the dehydration eliminate all the alcohol content?

Camper English

It should eliminate nearly all the alcohol but according to an article I read about alcohol in baking there may be trace amounts remaining.


So you Wouldnt recommend using it in a Non Alcoholic Negroni

Camper English

If I were to put it on a menu I'd say "may contain trace amounts of alcohol" just to be safe. I can't imagine there would be enough to have any impact on a person, but I err on the side of caution when it comes to impacting other people.

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