This week I decided to experiment with making espuma or foam for my cocktails. One of my favorite cocktails is the Old Fashioned because of it’s simplicity and it’s ability to enhance the spirit used. A slight variation on the this drink is the Sazerac. Invented in New Orleans in the 1850’s by Aaron Bird, this drink derives its unique flavor from the addition of Peychaud’s bitters and absinthe. I began wondering how to make an absinthe foam to replace the usual absinthe lined glass and gussy the drink up a bit. It turns out, I’m not the first person on the planet to think of this but after experimenting with several concoctions, I did perfect my own delicious version of the classic.
Espumas or foams are an amazing way to elevate both appearance and texture of cocktails. Most espumas are made using egg whites but you can substitute other products to achieve similar results, however, I wont go into that here. I like to use eggwhites from a box because they are pasteurized and therefor help prevent the risk of Salmonella. Additionally, you will need to purchase a N20 chargeable cream whipper to create this foam. It’s a worthwhile and relatively inexpensive investment with a variety of applications beyond the cocktail realm. (So get one!)
3 oz absinthe
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 egg whites (or boxed pasteurized)
Dissolve sugar in warm water then add absinthe, lemon juice and egg. Transfer mixture to cream whipper and tighten the top on to the whipper. Charge with cartridge and vigorously shake. Place in fridge for one hour so the mixture stabilizes or you can charge with another N2O cartridge.
1 1/2 oz rye or bourbon
1/4 oz of turbinado simple syrup
2 dashes pechaud’s bitters
1 dash angostura bitters
twist of lemon
Combine all ingredients over ice in a cocktail mixing glass and stir vigorously until desired dilution is achieved. Strain cocktail into martini or rocks glass. Point the nozzle of the whipper straight down while pulling the lever very VERY gently. Slowly top the Sazerac with absinthe espuma in a circular motion. Some people like to decorate the foam with drops of bitters but I prefer the texture of the foam the way it is. Cheers!