Luuk Gerritsen lives on Curacao and is the general manager of Kome. Some of the ideas below were developed at previous venues where Gerritsen worked, and he would also like to acknowledge Bar Manager Wesley Quinlan as partner in many of these recipes and procedures.
Gerritsen says, "All our fresh juice will be frozen at the end of the night and agar-clarified the day after. [Agar clarification turns the juice clear and helps it last much longer.] We clarify and acidify citrus for bottled drinks. Also, blending it with a little zest can bring back the aroma."
They freeze the juice overnight rather than refrigerate it so that if they don't clarify it the next day it can go another day before clarification.
To use up orange juice, Gerritsen says, "We borrowed Naren Young’s fluffy OJ (& grapefruit) concept. We can usually keep them fresh enough for brunch and then it’s whatever the brunch time bartender wants to do with it. Makes for a pretty dope mimosa."
To make dehydrated citrus wheels more aromatic, they "Hit them with a torch for a second brings out the aroma." We’ve sprayed them with aromatic oils but I feel it detracts from the effect. I use them more for visual effect than as a complementing ingredient (I wouldn’t use garnish on many drinks if people weren’t still hellbent on it here.)
Citrus Husks- "I’ve found after working lots of events that you can use the husks steeped sugar (or in hot simple syrup) to make a very decent lemonade as a virgin option."
Oleo Saccharum process: "We vacuum seal our citrus zests with double the amount of sugar, a pinch of salt and a touch of filtered water and freeze them the next day. This will stay aromatic for a long time."
Leftover Garnish Oleo Saccharum
"Selikor is our local trash removal company, this is a Trash Cordial -> Selikordial"
It’s all leftover garnishes (pineapple, lime wedges, orange wedges, whatever we have on the menu including ) from the night before which get packed with sugar and given the oleo treatment.
We use it in multiple ways.
1) As the sweetener in our fruit punch (very popular drink on the island. Syrup (usually cheap “grenadine”), canned pineapple and orange. Ours is a little more elaborate, with homemade syrup and fresh juices.
2) As a component in one of our batched happy hour cocktails with gin and elderflower tonic. (Using acids to balance)
3) For staff drinks for the kitchen if we have too much.
Using Less Garnish
I stopped using trivial stuff like pineapple fronds / wedges if there’s not more than one use for that specific fruit on the menu, since I found myself forced to reuse a product for daily punch specials, taking away from my well thought-out menu.
Bitters / liqueur floats, aromatic sprays in lieu of a physical garnish, sprinkles of smoked / flavored salts. Sugar or dehydrated fruit powder rims / fruit paint.
Eggs and Aquafaba
Gerritsen says, "I feel aquafaba masks some of the subtler flavors in cocktails. I personally don’t like it at all, but I’ve always be the odd man out with tastings. I have to agree the foam layer is perfect, but it has a dog food smell to me."
"It lasts about a week, but we go through it faster than that. We store it in squeeze bottles in the fridge."
They use canned beans. The beans are fried as a salad ingredient.
"We use egg whites that were left over from the bakeshop from that morning. We measure a scant ounce. We use batched egg whites for two days, only if they were super fresh."
Filtered and Carbonated Water System
From day one Kome didn’t serve bottled water, we started with one system (the name escapes me) and we moved to VERO water systems. The water is UV and Carbon filtered and we charge a single 5$ fee for unlimited table water per 4 people. It also comes with a carbonation system included, which works great. It comes with branded bottles, but for big groups that want tap, we use non-branded carafes.
VERO is just an upsell, and a way of not having to bring in any bottled water (footprint). The tap water here is perfectly fine to drink, but lots of people want bottled.
We market the carbonated one as sparkling water, soda water is an upcharge (single serve from a can).
Cans Vs Bottles
We use cans wherever possible (switched to Q Mixers partly for that reason) so we don’t have glass waste. We have a local company that recycles aluminum. [Keep in mind this restaurant is on an island where glass recycling is probably exported.]
Oleo Saccharum Opinions
- Lime doesn’t work great in my opinion, there’s not much free oils in the skin and it has a metallic taste after a few days
- Grapefruit oleo works wonders to add a bitter touch without adding traditional bitters (that carry non-citrus flavors with them)
- I used to reserve all citrus zests to turn into oleo, but I noticed that if you don’t process it within a day or two the flavors aren’t as fresh.
Lime Cordial Recipe
From Luuk Gerritsen
We are lucky enough to have lime trees here [on Curacao], I do the following:"
50 g young lime leaves
250 ml neutral grain alcohol
500 ml water
250 g sugar
20 g citric acid
10 g malic acid.
Bruise the leaves and steep in the alcohol for a week (or sous vide at 45C for 2 hours), add everything else and blend till dissolved. Amazing lime aroma, while no cloudiness from juice or zest. If you want more juicy flavor, substitute the acids and 250 ml of the water for 250 ml filtered lime juice.
This works wonders with mandarin / yuzu leaves too!
Black Sesame Orgeat and a Cocktail in Which to Use It
From Luuk Gerritsen
Gerritsen notes that this orgeat comes out a nice grey color. Some bartenders are using seeds instead of nuts to make fatty orgeat syrups, as many nut trees consume a lot of water.
Black Sesame Orgeat
- Toasted Black Sesame 150g
- Sugar 750g
- Water 500g
- Ponzu 50g
Boil and then blend the sesame, sugar, and water. Strain loosely then repeat the boil and blend. Leave out overnight to settle then fine strain the mixture. Add ponzu.
- Vida Mezcal 22.5 ml
- El Jimador Reposado Tequila 22.5ml
- Sesame Orgeat 30ml
- Lime Juice 30ml
- Egg White 30ml
Shake/dry shake with ice and strain into a tall skinny glass with no ice. Garnish with sesame seeds and grapefruit peel.
Pickled Watermelon Rind - and a Cocktail in which to Use It
Cut the green outer rind off, then either cut a big rectangle or cut strips as uniform as possible. Lay flat in a vacuum bag and cover with a mix of (1 cup water, 1 cup champagne vinegar, pink peppercorns, 1 oz mezcal, 1 tbsp pink salt, 1 tbsp sugar). Vacuum and let sit for 48 hours OR sous vide at low temp.
Makes for a super crunchy pickle.
- Vodka 30ml
- WST Cordial (see below) 30ml
- Amontillado Sherry 15ml
Shake with ice and serve in a wine glass with crushed ice. Garnish with pickled watermelon rind and mint.
WST Cordial: WST Cordial: 250 gr strawberry juice, 250 gr watermelon juice, 750 gr sugar, 10 gr citric, 20 gr malic. Juices extracted with slow juicer (just now thought of my next project, dehydrating the pulp to make powders). Blend all ingredients together and fortify with an ounce of vodka to prevent spoiling.
Ginger Bottled Moscow Mules with Ginger-infused Vodka
It’s really simple, we steep the ginger pulp in vodka for 24 hours, getting the last of the (super dry) ginger spiciness out. Not so much flavor as just a woody spice back note.
10L batch: 3L ginger infused vodka, 1.5L ginger syrup (ginger cooked in simple), 500 ml ginger juice (slow juicer), 200gr citric, 100 gr malic, 5L water. We use our beer bottling setup for bottling. (Torpedo keg, counter pressure bottle wand, Blichman Quickcarb).
Dark N Stormy Topped with Tepache
Dark rum of choice, lime, ginger syrup, topped with tepache.
Tepache: Skins & cores of 3 pineapples, zest of 10 limes, 4 liters of water, 4 cups of moscovado sugar, handful spice mix (pink peppercorns, cardamom, clove, cinnamon).
Let naturally ferment for four to seven days at room temp. Strain and let the final few points of fermentation happen. You can also ferment with champagne yeast at 10C for two weeks for a dryer and cleaner result, but I like the natural funk of a spontaneous ferment.
Berry infused Bourbon, Acidified Cherry Syrup (with Maraschino Cherry Syrup) & Cola
Infuse 100 gr blackberries & raspberries in a liter of Makers 46 for 2 days. Strain (use the berries as an ice cream topper!).
Blend 350 ml of Cherry syrup (we use BadaBing brand) with 350 gr sugar, 35 gr citric, 15 gr malic. Combine the two and store in clean bottles.
Mix over ice in a longdrink: 60 ml of the mix, half a can of Q Kola. Garnish with a cherry.
We try to reuse / upcycle as much as possible.
- We reuse beer bottles for our house brewed beer
- We reuse a random array of bottles for syrups etc
- Chickpea tins for Moscow mules
- All our tinctures, garnishes etc are stored in glass jars etc that were liberated from the kitchen