Solid Liquids: Dehydrated Liqueurs on Cocktail Menus
Every Drink I Had at Tales of the Cocktail 2011

Solid Liquids: Techniques

SolidLiquidsProjectSquareLogoThe next step in the Solid Liquids project is to look at the various methods people are using to dehydrate liqueurs down to sugars. After searching the interwebz, here are some techniques I found. 

I don't think the original DrinkBoy forums are online anymore- at least I can't find them- but that's where this technique first came to my attention several years ago. Bartenders in Australia were dehydrating Campari and other liqueurs and making powders out of them.  

Oven Baking

Pour the liqueur on a baking pan, perhaps with a silicone matt on it (for easier removal of solids) and bake at a low temperature overnight. Damon Dyer wrote that his initial method (copied from the Australians) was:

"The process as I learned it was to pour the Campari into a shallow baking sheet, then slowly bake in the oven at low, low, low heat. The Campari eventually loses its water and alcohol, and solidifies. Then it's simply a matter of scraping the solid Campari "brick" off the baking sheet, crushing it into a powder, and enjoying a cocktail.

"However, the revised process that Donbert came up with [see below] is much more efficient."


Way back in 2007, Don Lee took up the issue (in this thread on eGullet), and remembering a tip from the French Laundry Cookbook, he dried out liqueurs in the microwave. He was able to boil Campari down to a sludge in about 4 minutes, then further pulverize this into a poweer.

On refining the technique, his observations were:

  • In the initial cooking stage, the alcohol is boiling off so the boiling is quite violent. Use short heating bursts during this stage.
  • Also use short bursts of heat at the end, because then the thick sugary liquid can caramelize if you're not careful. 
  • "For Maraschino (Luxardo) I had to use 20 sec intervals for the first 1.5 minutes, then could let it go for 3 mins straight before going back to 20 sec intervals until 303.5F was reached. The result when cooled is an easily removable "puck" of Maraschino." 
  • Using this method, Damon Dyer said he had success dehydrating Torani Amer, Yellow Chartreuse, Peychaud's, Herbsaint, Maraschino, and Canton Ginger.

Liquid Nitrogen

Douglas Williams of Liquid Alchemy consulting used liquid nitrogen to make solid Campari. This is really frozen Campari, and thus will melt again. So it's not a useful technique for my purposes.

But in any case, check out this video of it happening:

 Williams told me about some other ways to get alcohol into solid form - sometimes without burning off the booze. I am not completely clear on how it works, but apparently you can use tapioca malodextrin and that will bond with anything fatty. This technique can apparently be used to trap booze into a solid form. 

I doubt I'll have time to get into the molecular mixology stuff during the duration of this project, but it would be fun to try. 

The Solid Liquids Project index is at this link


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I'd love to hear more about the malodextrin method, if you get around to it or if you can direct me to a guide on the web.

I'd also be interested in knowing yields. I'd like to try dehydrating a few liqueurs - how much liquid yield how much solid? Obviously it's gonna vary by product, but some ball park numbers would be helpful.

Camper English

All to come! I'm running those yield experiments now. For the tapioca malodextrin you might want to hunt down some molecular mixology information. I believe the products are sold at Le Sanctuare (sp?).

Tony Harion

We played around with adding more sugar and even salt to some dehydrated liqueur while they were still in the liquid form.
It speeds it up a bit and you get a better yield, but it all depends on what you want to do with it in the first place.

Camper English

Tony - I think adding more sugar might be a great help for the things I'm thinking of doing with it. Thanks for the tip!

Tom Egerton

Thanks for the article. Have been trying to create a pineapple sherbert using a dehydrator and ended up taking somewhere in the vicinity of two weeks to dry up enough to powder!

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