I’m not a huge fan of liquid nitrogen. Especially when it is overused and more of a gimmick than actually enhancing the meal. The one place I do regularly like appreciate this element of molecular gastronomy is in cocktails. At the Aviary in Chicago they freeze ginger in a deconstructed Moscow Mule. At Booker & Dax in NYC it’s used to pre-bottle a Manhattan. In Lima, the most interesting concoction thus far has been pisco sour popcorn.
The drink, if you can call it that, is no longer available anywhere in Lima as far as I know. It was being served at Nikkei restaurant Ache in Miraflores, while chef Hajime Kasuga and bartender Gian Carlo Nazario were still there. The pair probably was/is the most exciting food and cocktail duo in Lima history. As per Nazario, a perfectly shaken pisco sour was spooned into a bowl of liquid nitrogen, scooped out into a popcorn box when it solidified, and then eaten like popcorn after it cooled somewhat so you didn’t burn your stomach (which has happened). The “kernels” melted slowly in the box and tasted exactly like a pisco sour. It was the perfect combination of dessert, digestif, and palate cleanser.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.