Cocktails and Foam

After owning a whipper for too long without using it, I decided to make foam for cocktails the other night. This was my first attempt at making foam but by using this excellent video from The Small Screen Network and Jamie Boudreau, it was a total success.

foam cocktail

My batavia-arrack based cocktail.

The Concept

Using Jamie’s advice that you should build foam as a standalone cocktail, I began thinking about what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to make something with pimento dram. I love the spice of pimento dram, but I find that in cocktails it is often a very powerful flavor that can be too much. In Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, the Lion’s Tail is a great cocktail, but the amount of pimento dram he suggests is overpowering. Obviously, different brands of pimento dram will taste different, but I use the (relatively) common and delicious St. Elizabeth.

I thought that a foam might be just the ticket. I followed with other ingredients that would match well with the pimento dram.

The Captain’s Two-Faced Foam

  • 2 egg whites
  • 2oz pimento dram (St. Elizabeth)
  • 1.5oz lime juice
  • 1oz water
  • .25oz 1.25:1 demerara simple syrup (this is the ratio I had on hand. You can use whatever ratio you have)
  • .25oz Angostura bitters

I pretty much just followed Jamie’s instructions in his video. I cut the recipe in half and used only one NO2 cartridge before I let it sit in the fridge overnight. You should be able to get about 10 drinks out of this batch size.

The Cocktails

My initial thought was to create a rum based drink to go under the foam since the pimento dram fits with rum so well. As I was browsing my bottles, I came across my bottle of Batavia-arrack. I decided that this would the base for my first drink.

  • 1.5oz Batavia-arrack
  • .5oz Clement Creole Shrubb
  • .25oz lime juice
  • 1/8oz demerara simple
  • garnish with a mint sprig

I really liked this drink. It has great flavors that fit well with the pimento dram based foam. I may try tweaking this drink further to see if I can make it even better. I might add some more lime juice to see what that does to it.

batavia-arrack, Creole Shrubb

Raw materials.

My wife requested a drink with ginger so out came the Domaine de Canton. As I wanted to both highlight the ginger and use up some of the vodka bottles we have, I used vodka as the base spirit.

  • 1.5oz vodka
  • .5oz Domaine de Canton
  • 1 drop rose water

This thing was a mess. You couldn’t taste the ginger and this drink just sucked. Even with only 1 drop of rose water, it was still too much. That stuff is so powerful. I guess it was fine, but certainly not something I’d serve somebody. Stay away unless you can improve it.

My next drink was an actual rum based drink. I went with Barbancourt rum and built a standard rum based cocktail.

  • 2oz Barbancourt rum
  • .25oz maraschino
  • .25oz lime juice

This one was also not great. It just tasted wrong. Not as bad as the vodka drink, but still not something I’d serve. This could probably work better if I played with the ratios a bit.

Sticking with the rum, I switched the rums and upped the lime juice. I thought this one would play with the sweetness of the foam better.

  • 1oz El Dorado (3 year)
  • .5oz Lemon Hart 151
  • .75oz lime juice
  • .25oz cherry Heering

This was my most successful rum based drink. It had good flavor that stood up to the strong spice of the foam. Or perhaps it was due to the fact that I’m a total sucker for Lemon Hart.

I returned to my foam the next day with a different approach. The spice should also work in the fall with brandy or calvados based cocktails. It actually worked out rather well and I just pretended that I was doing a Christmas in July thing like they do on QVC.

  • 1.5oz Laird’s Apple Brandy
  • .75oz Grand Marnier
  • .5oz lemon juice
  • Flame a lemon peel over the foam once done.

This turned out great. The apple brandy and the Grand Marnier with its cognac base fit with the spice of the pimento dram and Angostura. Feel free to give it a go once the weather turns a bit colder.

spirits, tools, bottles, cocktails, foam

In the trenches creating drinks.

Learnings

  • The foam keeps for a couple days. After that it gets thin and doesn’t hold up well in a cocktail.
  • If your foam is complex and dynamic, I don’t think you need a crazy drink under it. Keep is simple and tasty.
  • I prefer rapid prototyping, rather than tweaking a drink to death. I’d rather keep moving through drinks than try one drink over and over.
  • So glad that I can ride on Jamie’s coattails.
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Posted in Cocktails, Recipe, Technique

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