Iain McPherson

Iain McPherson’s Panda & Sons in Edinburgh has launched its new menu, Transcend, and in doing so has introduced its latest innovation in cocktail-making technique.

‘Sous Pression’, according to McPherson, is a new technique to the world of cocktails, and a sub-zero alternative to sous vide.

The new approach is among four freeze-enhancing techniques employed in the Transcend drinks list, which is the result of five years of research into sub-zero reactions.

The menu’s drinks are divided into process-driven chapters, with the bar’s very own Switching technique – revealed in 2019 – featuring alongside freeze drying and cryoconcentration.

McPherson told CLASS that the knowledge and principles of ice cream making – a subject he has a degree in – can be applied to cocktails.

He explained how the process of Sous Pression’ sees cocktails frozen in a contained space, then thawed.

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He told CLASS: “With 'Sous Pression’ we are harnessing the force generated during the freezing process of a liquid. Liquids expands by about 9% when frozen – which is why water pipes burst in sub-zero temperatures. That energy is normally expelled and lost, but we have found a way to contain it using small 2l stainless steel kegs.

“By keeping that force in the container, it leeches the flavour from the fruit as the force is trying to find a way to escape/expand (acting as an alternative to the chamber vacuum). We proceed to freeze the batched cocktail and fruit completely solid. By freezing alcohol completely, the alcohol gets softened and has less burn on the finish (similar to in a water bath).”

Though the drinks have highly technical methods behind their making, McPherson said the menu is designed for “people that want to geek out about any or all of the techniques, or just want to drink cocktails and don’t care how we made it.”

Transcend will be available at Panda & Sons from today.