When ionic liquids (ILs) are employed as solvents for transition metal complex (TMC) catalyzed reductions, a second solvent can be added to increase the efficiency of the catalytic cycle and the solubility of the reactant in the IL phase. Two industrially relevant asymmetric hydrogenations, the enantioselective reductions of methyl 2-acetamidoacrylate with Rh-EtDuPHOS and methyl acetoacetate with Ru-BINAP, were performed in different catalytic systems including 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate/tetrafluoroborate as ILs. Product separation and TMC recycling was performed by extracting the product from the reaction mixture. This can be accomplished by cooling the system, by adding an excess of the second solvent or by adding a third solvent. A high solubility of the second solvent in the IL catalytic phase favors the reaction activity, but can induce leaching of the IL and TMC. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.