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(( Cocktail Techniques ))

Posted by drinkscompanion on January 13, 2008

Spoons1

 

The Exciting World of…Stirring!

That’s right, I’m back with some more technique discussion.  Dreadfully boring or informative?  I’ll let you be the judge.

Now, I’m of two minds when it comes to stirring.  One, the guy who sometimes just wants to chill the cocktail down and get on with the drinking already, tends to shake off the snobbery of proper technique, method, and specific utensils.  The other side (which wins more often) sticks pretty rigidly to guidelines, if only to make the customer’s experience more consistent.  What are these guidelines and why do they help in both chilling a cocktail and getting a desired texture?  To answer this, let’s chat about stirring in general.

Why do we sometimes stir and why do we sometimes shake?  Though there are many variations, and certainly no one way is correct, the rule-of-thumb goes something like this: If a cocktail is primarily spirituous (meaning with liquors, liqueurs, fortified wines, syrups, bitters, etc), it should be stirred.  Mixing these ingredients doesn’t require brute force from shaking, and the texture that results is silky and smooth, cold liquid sex on the tongue.  I’m not much for sexual metaphors, but a properly made Manhattan is a sensual thing.

Conversely, should your cocktail have juice, cream, fruit (solid or puréed), or egg, it should be shaken.  The introduction of air into the liquid, and the violent use of ice as a blender (of sorts), mixes these ingredients together while diluting and chilling.  Naturally, there are exceptions to these rules, but most cocktaillian bartenders walk the Party Line.

A lot of bartenders scoff at those who shake when they should stir.  Ok, I get it: I don’t want my Sazerac shaken.  But it’s not as simple as that.  There are also those who think the whole stir/shake debate is ridiculous: if you let a shaken Manhattan sit for a minute, the air bubbles will subside and it’ll be close to its stirred counterpart.  I’ll buy that, sort of.  I think, though, that from watching bartenders and cocktail-interested friends, the real answer more easily diagnosed; most people probably don’t have an efficient method of stirring.  It can be an awkward learning curve, figuring out a method for swirling the spoon inside a mixing glass with ice and not introducing any air into the cocktail.  Seriously.  It can take some time.

But then there’s the question of which method.  There are probably many more methods than the ones I’m listing here, but as a basic outline, I see stirring techniques in three camps: American stirring, European stirring, and Japanese stirring.   The name association is not necessarily geographic or nationalistic, and holds no sinister meanings.  It’s just an observation.

A note on spoons: I tend to use two different types of spoons.  One, the standard bar spoon with a twisted handle (though I prefer a disk on the end for herb bruising) works more as an ice crusher, breaking apart cold draft ice to create more surface and get the cocktail to a quicker chill.  The one I actually use to stir is a twist-less spoon.  Boy is it nice – smooth, quick, and sexy.

american.jpg

First, American stirring.  This is the way I see most American bartenders stirring.  It’s pretty basic, and seems to have evolved out of the use of the twisted bar spoon.  You know, that one you’ll find at almost any bar: a single piece of metal, twisted in the very middle.  Bartenders often bend the whole spoon in a long arc to make stirring quicker and more efficient.  As pictured, the spoon usually rests between the thumb and the index finger while the stirring is guided by the space between the ice and the inner surface of the glass.

japanese.jpg

Second, Japanese stirring.  I’ve now worked with a bar program that employs Japanese bartending techniques (the Hard Shake, for example), and have found that the Japanese method for stirring is by far the most useful.  I now use it every time I stir a cocktail because of its efficiency and noiseless stirring.  As pictured, the main difference is how the spoon rests on the hand, sitting between the ring and middle fingers.  Think of this method less as a wrist or arm motion (as can sometimes be the case in American stirring), and more of a push back and forth between the ring and middle fingers.  

As your fingers push the spoon’s stem back and forth, the spoon head will follow the inner surface of the mixing glass.  At the most basic level, you’re really just pushing these fingers back and forth, allowing the glass to guide the spoon head along.  While this is similar to the American style, your wrist never really moves and you can keep a solid pivot above your drink. Why does this matter?  The whole point of stirring is minimize air getting into a cocktail, preserving a certain liquid texture.  In stirring this way, you shouldn’t hear the clank of metal on ice or glass — just a smooth, quiet whirling.  (This description is still a little vague.  Maybe more pictures can be put up…soon.)


euro.jpg

And finally, European stirring.  Ok, this one is a bit of a farce.  I’ve just seen more Europeans using this technique (or lack there of) than I have anyone else.  It’s the cheater way.  Simply, you invert the spoon so the handle is in the mix, eliminating the drag from the spoon and make the whole bit of business that much easier.  I’ve even seen bartending books that tout this as the best method.

And with all this talk of stirring, it’s time for a drink.  The tools were already out on the counter, so why not make a tasty beverage?  I chose a Manhattan variation using Old Forrester bourbon, Punt e Mes, and a dash of chamomile tincture.

 the process

 
Yum. 

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Posted in Cocktail Techniques | 15 Comments »

(( Cocktail Techniques and Spirits ))

Posted by drinkscompanion on September 4, 2007

Maraschino Liqueur and What The Hell Kind Of Career Is Bartending?

I’m of the firm opinion that few ingredients bridge the gap between passive-cocktail-drinker and cocktail-enthusiast better than maraschino liqueur. Maybe this is just my own experiences, but there’s something about the complex flavors involved that invariably take a mixed drink down a funky, flavorful, and potentially dangerous road. To me, a few too many drops can render an otherwise interesting cocktail undrinkable. But when used correctly, there are few ingredients that bring to the table such complexity and that throw instant kindling on the barroom social fire – oh my! What is this? Here, you try it!

Just like many other people, my introduction to maraschino liquor was with the Aviation. I guess I should be grateful to the bartender who made it so well, because that particular cocktail was something of a revelation in my life. I know – I know! – that’s stiflingly dramatic, but it’s true if only in the hazy hindsight that comes with too much bloody time around drinks.

I’d never tasted anything like it. Before, I had worked in a high-volume rock’n’roll bar, and probably was happy hanging out in its carbon copy down the block with happy nights of beer. Sometimes hard liquor would come into the picture, but never something I thirsted for, never something that interested me from a culinary point of view. From somewhere (I honestly have no idea to this day) I heard the name Aviation and thought it clever and intriguing, so when that badass Death and Co. opened around the corner, an Aviation was the first off-the-menu drink I had the courage to order.

(That’s right, kids, I’ve only been a geek about this stuff for a short, short while. Goes to show what a mix of OCD and far too much free time can do to a boy.)

So I ordered it from the bartender. We met that night. To this day, that bartender (who shall remain nameless ‘cause I’m not completely tacky) holds a special place in my heart. Never mind he’s a great guy and fantastically talented, but that Aviation lit up my eyes and stuck a bright and shiny light bulb directly over my head: Holy shit. This is amazing.

From there I began immersing myself into what had been a college bartending job that lingered far too long after graduation. Basically, I started regarding the profession of bartending (different than tending bar) as sophisticated and something I could really enjoy.

And thus was my first night with maraschino liqueur and the path it took me down. Sure, an Aviation is almost passé at this point, but it still works the same wonders on the uninitiated as it did for me. Plus, with the re-introduction of Crème de Violette, we here in New York are able to drink and make classic Aviations without going to a small number of cocktail lounges the nation over or spending too much money on frustrating mail order or flights to Europe. I hear the Bay Area is next.

Over the last year, I’ve been privileged enough to manage a bar where the owner allows me to do almost anything I want. Consequently, I now have three maraschino liquors at my nightly disposal. From my understanding, these three are the only current mass-production maraschinos. In fact, I personally don’t know of any others.

    Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur Maraska Maraschino Liqueur
    Stock Maraschino Liqueur

Just as a quick oversight, maraschino liqueur has traditionally been distilled from ripe marasca cherries, their crushed pits, sprigs and leaves, honey, and other “secret” ingredients.

Some historically interesting stuff for your next cocktail soirée: Dominican monks first made maraschino in the 16th Century. The original Luxardo distillery was built in a town called Zara – for a time part of the Austrian Empire, then after WWI annexed to Northern Italy, then almost completely destroyed by the bombardments of WWII, and finally settling just behind the Iron Curtain and changing its name pinko-style to Zadar. The distillery was rebuilt after the war by the only surviving Luxardo family member in the town of Torreglia in postwar Northern Italy. The original Zara distillery was rebuilt by the communists and marketed as Luxardo. After some legal battles, the distillery was eventually re-branded as Maraska.

And there we have it. The two most widely used maraschino liqueurs. And yes, information was pillaged almost exclusively from wikipedia.

In my opinion, Luxardo and Maraska are the only maraschinos worth using. The Stock maraschino, while having a maraschino-esque flavor and smell, doesn’t really shine through in a cocktail the way Luxardo and Maraska will. I think the common comparison goes something along the lines of: Stock is to Luxardo and Maraska as is Triple-Sec to Cointreau. There’s some wisdom there.

While I’ve gotten favorable results with both Luxardo and Maraska in a wide range of cocktails, I’ve taken to using one over the other in specific drinks. I’m still developing my use of both, but in general I’ve found the Luxardo to have a funkier presence. It’ll cut through other dominant flavors and make its presence known in a big way while not being the cocktail equivalent of a drunken elephant in a small room. This is especially important when mixing drinks with a long list of ingredients: more to compete and play with. As an example, the following is a cocktail I’ve had on The Back Room’s menu for some time:

    The Vostead 18
    1 fresh strawberry, lightly muddled to break fruit apart.
    2 oz Bombay Dry
    0.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
    0.5 oz St-Germain Elderflower
    2 dashes Maraschino
    Shaken, strained into a chilled cocktail glass. Topped with prosecco (~1.5 oz)

In trying both Luxardo and Maraska side-by-side in this particular cocktail, I’ve noticed that the Luxardo comes through much better. It’s such a small amount, but it makes the cocktail all the more interesting. The Maraska just doesn’t have the gusto in this case.

Now, in a cocktail that has only a few ingredients that in themselves are clean and simple (as in an Aviation, for example), I find myself reaching for the Maraska. Its subtler flavor allows the other ingredients to come through on the palate, wherein the Luxardo needs to be reined in so much or it’ll take over completely. Doing this with the Luxardo creates the taste-impression of maraschino liqueur, but pulls back from texture and an aroma presence in comparison to the other ingredients. The drink, to me, becomes unbalanced due to the compromise.

For my Last and Final Words, I switch it up depending on the customer and my initial impression of their taste. In some cases, I want the Green Chartreuse and the gin or rye (respectively) to come through more (Maraska). In other cases, the cocktail might benefit from pulling the Chartreuse back and asserting the maraschino (Luxardo).

As much as I’ve over-drank maraschino cocktails – and for a period cringed at the taste of ANYTHING with the stuff – I’ve come back to them. They’re always a crowd pleaser when made correctly, and almost always a gnarly mess when overdone. The sweetness of the liqueur can act as a pleasant balance against strong and sour ingredients wonderfully, but it must be done with the utmost precision. A free-pour of maraschino makes me cringe in the same way a Manhattan without bitters does.

At least that’s how I feel.

Posted in Cocktail Recipes, Cocktail Recipes — Original, Cocktail Techniques, Spirits | 10 Comments »

(( Cocktail Techniques ))

Posted by drinkscompanion on August 28, 2007

Flash: Egg White Technique Update!

I’ve discovered a new thing – new to me, anyhow. I really have no idea if other people are doing this, but I find it really, really helpful in maximizing every last protein in my egg white cocktails.

If you haven’t read my post about egg whites and cocktails, check it out here. As a slight but possibly crucial update, I’m going to modify Step 7. Strain the drink into a chilled glass as usual, but instead of shooting seltzer into a clean tin or glass and then pouring it slowly into the patiently waiting cocktail, use the small, empty end of your Boston set (in this case) and spray some seltzer in. The charged water instantly reacts to the thin layer of drink still lining the glass/tin, frothing nicely. Now you’re ready pour some of this foamy seltzer in your cocktail as described before, but also to scoop some very, very nice foam directly on top with a bar spoon.

In this way, you’ve taken advantage of the egg white to its fullest. It’s key to do this quickly, though, as the proteins from the egg are still aggravated.

Posted in Cocktail Techniques | 2 Comments »

(( Cocktail Techniques ))

Posted by drinkscompanion on August 14, 2007

…and Equipment

Not Just Boston and Go

This seems painfully obvious: put the booze in the glass or tin, add some ice, put a top on it, and shake the crap out of everything, right? You’d think so, but no! Well, yes, but there are many ways to shake, and a ton of options for equipment, none of which are right or wrong – just different. I’ve spent a lot of time at some amazing bars here in New York, and if there’s one thing I can say, it’s that there is no dominant shaking method. Sure, certain places instruct their bartenders to shake a particular way, but I see that as more of an operational consistency, an intended way of doing things to plant an overall impression of professionalism.

So this post is dedicated to the shaker and the various ways we all use it.

First, let’s look at the gear. There are two basic shakers: the Boston shaker and the Cobbler shaker. No need to linger on this, because it’s probably over-kill to anyone who’d actually read this, but there’s a variation I’ve come to like a lot.

Like most American bartenders, I use the Boston shaker. Sitting atop most bars you’ll find two metal tins accompanied by a pint glass. The small tin has a capacity of 16 ounces, the larger 28 ounces. That pint glass is, well, a standard pint glass (16-ounce) but occasionally with some thicker glass. I think we all know how this works.

Over the last year, I’ve noticed certain places using a different sized shaker in place of the small, 16-ounce tin. At Pegu Club, Death and Co, PDT, among other places I’m sure, they use jiggers for everything directly into an 18-ounce metal tin. In comes large ice, and the 28-ounce tin goes on top. The 18-ounce tin sticks out much like a pint glass does in a classic Boston shaker setup, but doesn’t add a top-heavy weight. It creates a really nice balance that feels right when shaking. If you’re just free pouring, and count on the glass to gauge your measurements, the 18-ounce tin probably isn’t a good option – this setup is intended for jigger use.

Also, the 18-ounce tin is beveled slightly inward. Because of this, the tin will seal perfectly with the larger tin every time. After a non-beveled tin has seen some days, they usually start to get a bit dinged up on the edges. These little gaps become a total nightmare when making an egg-white cocktail, spraying everywhere when dry shaking.

Why are these places breaking from the standard? There must be a reason, right? From my understanding (thanks to the fine folks on the eGullet forums), the use of metal-on-metal for shaking allows the liquid, the ice, and the metal tin to come into a quicker thermal equilibrium. Room temperature glass, by comparison, absorbs more thermal energy (giving off its heat) and therefore won’t chill as quickly, resulting in further dilution. This is why you’ll see these same places using a chilled mixing glass when stirring drinks (a topic I’d love to come back to later): the chilled glass with its high thermal transfer is actually beneficial when chilled because it transfer thermal energy to the liquid.

It took me a while to track down these 18-ounce shakers. People talk a plenty about the Bowery with its great restaurant supply stores. Poppy cock! While that might be true for some areas of the restaurant, the bar gets the shaft. A friend directed me to barsupplies.com, which I’ve been using now for a while. Once you sift through the gimmicky crap, they actually have some good stuff. And they’re not even paying me to say so.

(Side note: barsupplies.com, feel free to pay me. I’m perfectly comfortable wearing a T-Shirt. And I’m told I’m quite fetching. Mascot? Surely!)

Now onto technique.

The most common type of shaking I’ve seen is the standard over your shoulder, back and forth shake. Essentially, you’re pushing the ice from front to back, hitting at two points within the shaker. It’s a nice rhythm, and is very easy to get comfortable with.

Then there’s another method I’ve seen used by bartenders like Dale DeGroff (see this video, about two thirds of the way in). See what he’s doing? It’s not just a back-and-forth method, but seems to get the liquid swirling on the inside, making it have more contact with the shaker and, I’m guessing, cooling and mixing everything more efficiently.

And then there’s shaking from the side (as shown here, about six minutes in, by the totally awesome Robert Hess). Personally, this method seems more for the home bartending – a bit lazy, I guess, and also inefficient if you need to be shaking two cocktails at once or need free range of your other hand for whatever reason. But, let’s be honest, any shaking is gonna look painfully awkward on video.

If you’ve spent time in Japan, or even bars staffed by traditional Japanese bartenders (Angel’s Share here in NYC, for example), you’ve probably noticed their affinity for Cobbler shakers. It’s not just that, though, they also shake a little differently: the fabled HARD SHAKE. I can’t find any video of this, but here’s a pretty terrible translation of the technique by its founder, Mr. Kazuo Uyeda. It’s complicated, and I’m more than a little confused as to the actual scientific foundations for the Hard Shake, but the basic idea is this: when you do the Hard Shake, you make the liquid consistently hit four points within the shaker. You hold the shaker by putting your left hand palm up and your elbow at a ninety-degree angle, put the shaker on top of your hand so it is horizontal and the top is pointing towards your chest. Leave enough room so your fingertips can curl up and cup the end. Now, bring the right hand in, putting your thumb on top of the shaker and your fingers and palm on the shaker’s body. Wing your arms out, like you’re praying. Shake forward once, down once, and down a little lower for the final shake – a one-two-three count. Go slow at first. I’m told that the Hard Shake should sound like a steam train building up to a fast pace, then slowing down.

Tat – tat – tat
Tat – tat – tat
Tat-tat-tat
Tattattat
Tat-tat-tat
Tat – tat – tat
Tat – tat – tat

Any thoughts?

-by APD

Posted in Cocktail Techniques | 38 Comments »

(( Cocktail Techniques ))

Posted by drinkscompanion on August 10, 2007

In Defense of Jiggering
Or How To Make A Drink Right, Dammit, And Do It Every Time

I manage a bar that, I guess, had some pretty substantial press at its beginning. Blah, blah, blah – fifteen minutes of fame, followed by an onslaught of first-on-the-scene-sters who seemed to make it their mission to intimidate and push out all the cool locals. Whatever, it happens, and my rent check and that shiny new phone can’t argue too much. But the problem is the place opened with no drinks program to speak of, mostly focusing on high-volume mixed drinks and beers. From ownership on down, no one had any experience with cocktails and how important they can be to a business. No one cared, so what began as an aesthetically incredible place quickly got a reputation for only that, a gimmick of its speakeasy heritage.

So, for reasons too numerous to explain, I was given the task of managing the bar a little over a year ago. At that point, the ruts were cut deep in the road, the staff was incredibly resistant to change, and I wasn’t exactly sure how to move the business model from only high-volume to a more quality focused ethos. It doesn’t work having bartenders with only nightclub experience measuring out a half ounce of Luxardo. They don’t get it, they don’t want it, and they sure as hell don’t think that The Last Word is the work of a deity.

And then I had to be patient. Slowly, I pulled the Rose’s from the speed rack and pressed one bottle of fresh limejuice a night. Then I made a small menu, primarily with infused liquors so it’d be easy formulas. Then I added a bottle of simple syrup, and then a bottle of lemon juice. Now, a year later, we have a fairly respectable menu and fresh juices all around. Fridays and Saturdays are still hectic as all hell, but at least I can be proud of the drinks we’re putting across – a full section of approachable classics (French Pearls, Vieux Carrés, La Rositas, etc), and a healthy dose of my own creations, evolving every few weeks as I learn more and more.

And the crowd has changed! It’s better! People come in to have COCKTAILS and not to get totally pickled. Small things make me happy.

We’ve reached, I think, a critical time. The bar has moved beyond cocktails of typical fair (sweet, fruity, vodka) and into what I hope is a more sophisticated plateau. As the list has grown to its current size of fifteen drinks, so has the expectation of consistency. Mirroring my personal bartending rock stars at Death and Co. and Pegu, I’ve begun using jiggers for the more subtle drinks. Last night, as I was working, I decided why not take the opportunity on a slow night and measure everything. Ok, not highballs, but everything else. It amazed me how much I had to quickly solidify measurements in my mind, where before I had ripped through the speed rack and did everything by sight and feel. It made me stop and think: “Ok, what really are the proper measurements to a mojito?” The process crossed a line between an abstract, almost vague understanding of a drink and knowing it in concrete reality.

Once I was comfortable with flicking the jigger around in my hand and pouring accurately, it really didn’t slow me down – and multiple drinks in a row to customer were that much better, if only because of consistency. I felt more aware of my bar and the subtleties of the ingredients.

It was like driving a manual instead of an automatic, and I’m the kind of guy who’s into that sort of thing.

– by APD

Posted in Cocktail Techniques | 1 Comment »

(( Cocktail Techniques ))

Posted by drinkscompanion on August 8, 2007

In this section, we try and flush out certain bartending techniques we’ve found useful.Silver Fizz Egg Whites and CocktailsIf you’ve ever had a well-made Ramos Gin Fizz, you know what I’m talking about here. The texture of the liquid, the orange blossom, the lightness but full body of the foam…oh boy. All these seemingly strange ingredients come together to make, in my opinion, one of the most well conceived drinks around. It could so easily be sweeter, but it’s not. It could be boozier, but there’s really no need. And, it is easy to mess up.When I first started playing with egg whites, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. From a late night at Little Branch, I had come home amazed at the quality of the Ramos brought to our table. Bartenders choice – hell yeah. When it came, what we got was a large Collins glass, no ice, a nearly white liquid, and a head of foam that peaked out of the glass and stood its ground. Using the metal straw to fiddle around a bit, I was giddy at its stable body. It would lump on the straw, much like a very aerated whipped cream, and tasted of cream, gin, citrus, and ever so slightly of flowers.This got me thinking about technique in regard to egg whites and cocktails. To explain what I’ve learned, I’ll just stick with the Ramos.I started reading up on the Ramos Gin Fizz, and egg white drinks in general after my trip to Little Branch. The problem, I’ve found, is that most recipes will give you the formula, but don’t spend any time explaining the steps at which a bartender must go through to get the right texture and frothiness – that oh-so desirable head. As a reference, here is the approximate recipe that I’ve come to use:Ramos Gin Fizz2 oz gin (I use Plymouth)0.5 oz fresh lime juice0.5 oz fresh lemon juice1.25 oz simple syrup1.5 oz heavy cream1 egg white2-3 drops orange flower water2 oz seltzerJust looking at the long list of ingredients, it’s easy to plop it all in the shaker, do your thing, and top it off with soda. While the flavor might be close, you don’t really get the perfect Ramos.The biggest help I found in literature was anecdotal (all over the place, mind you) of the drink’s inventor, Henry C. Ramos, and the staff of shaker boys that were employed to shake the living hell out of each drink during Mardi Gras and other high traffic New Orleans events. The “boys” apparently would shake until they couldn’t take it any longer, pass it to the next “boy”, repeat, repeat on down the line, until one cocktail was shaken for a good 10 minutes. The outcome was a frothy fizz that pleased the thirsty crowd and certainly brought Ramos and his New Orleans Meyer’s Restaurant to cocktail fame in the early 1890s – the wonderful Golden Age of Cocktails.There are plenty of stories about the Ramos around, if you wanna read more, but I should get back to technique.From talking with various bartenders and playing around at work and home, here are the steps that I usually take when making and drink that calls for egg white:

    1. Separate the Egg White: in the glass end of a Boston Shaker (or the smaller metal piece, if that’s the system you’re using), separate the egg white from the yolk. I think it’s best to do this first in order to assure shards of eggshell haven’t found their way into the mix, as well as getting glimpse at the egg’s quality and freshness. Don’t be scared, it’s just an egg and it probably won’t bite you. The FDA says that only 1 in every 20,000 eggs carries salmonella, but if you’re still squeamish, go with pasteurized or powedered – not quite the same, but good enough.
    2. Add the ingredients (except seltzer, obviously). As much as I free pour on a nightly basis, when I’m making someone a Ramos, knowing how delicate it can be, I use a jigger. Pay particular attention to the orange flower/blossom water – it’s pungent and can quickly take over
    3. Without ice, give the ingredients a good “dry” shake. Ten to fifteen shakes.
    4. Add a lot of ice. The bigger the better. Shake like crazy for as long as you can take it, but try your best to keep it constant – no stops allowed. If you can last five minutes, you’re cooler than I am. Or at least not as feeble.
    5. Tap the shaker on the top of the bar a few times, much like a barista would tap steamed milk.
    6. Separate your boston set, leaving one side without ice but making sure that small remnants are left in the shaker (should be just a little bit).  Strain the drink out of the larger shaker into a chilled collins glass. 
    7. Spray seltzer into the remnants of the smaller shaker piece.  The seltzer will react to residual proteins in the tin, making a crude foam.  You can dollop that foam on top of your drink, then pour the shaker’s seltzer in, making the foam rise high above the glass’ top.  (This last bit is my personal technique, for which I have become very famous.  Incredibly, ridiculously famous.)

So what did we do here? Why shake first with no ice? Doing this with egg white cocktails allows the egg to act as an emulsifier. If you want to read a detailed and thoroughly interesting break-down of what’s happening here chemically, I suggest getting a copy of Herald McGee’s On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen (pg. 100). Basically, when physically agitated the proteins of the egg white unfold and bond to each other. The shaking and the tugging of ice pulls the proteins out of their natural shape, but these proteins will usually gather back near air, bonding together creating pockets or bubbles – all of which is magnified with the addition of carbonated water. Egg white foam on its own will eventually collapse, so the addition here of acids (the citrus juices) acts as a stabilizing element. Without it, the foam would break back down into a liquid after a while.Again, these steps are what I’ve found most useful. If anyone has tips or disagrees, please comment.Now, this is only one example of a cocktail made with egg white, this being a Silver Fizz – the “silver” indicating the addition of egg white. Certainly, the sour is a natural choice because of its acidic building blocks.  The above photo was taken from Vidiot’s Flickr page, which can be viewed here.   Thanks Vidiot!

Posted in Cocktail Techniques | 11 Comments »