Culinary foams are nothing new, neither in the kitchen nor in cocktail science. But faced with the challenge of this month's Mixology Monday, I tried my hand at molecular mixology and created a neat, green foam.
This time Mixology Monday is hosted by Booze Nerds and the topic is standoffish decorations. I was quite puzzled when I first read the words "standoffish decorations", but then everything was explained to me:
We’re looking for cocktails that use at least one non-garnish ingredient that is not stirred or shaken with the others. Rinses, floats, foams? Sure! Mists? Why not? We welcome whatever your creative geniuses can come up with. – Booze Nerds
An interesting topic and quite the trial for me, since I'm usually someone who doesn't like this kind of thing. In my opinion using such fancy methods often distracts from what is important. Keeping it simple, balanced and enhancing every ingredient is a greater challenge than to impress people with fancy airs or bubbles.
But when the going gets though, the though get going and so I went to work.
If At First You Don't Succeed
My initial idea was to make a simple garnish. A decoration that has been around for ages, but had been abused a lot: rimming the cocktail glass. My plan was to 1) make something that would add an interesting taste to the cocktail and 2) look impeccable.
As mentioned before I really like matcha. Sadly my experiments with making a finely powdered matcha rim were not successful. The powder was too dense and stuck to the rim way too much. It did not incorporate into the cocktail as I imagined it would and so I went back to the drawing board.
Try Again, Try Again
Along came my girlfriend with the idea to use her fancy cream whipper to make some kind of espuma, a fancy word for foam. I was reluctant at first, because culinary foams are quite overused and I wanted to make something more original. However, after some consideration I decided to give it a chance and whip up some foam myself. You can't dismiss something you have never tried, right?
My first idea was to make a New York Sour, but instead of floating the red wine I wanted to top it up with a red wine foam. Great idea and the resulting cocktail is very tasty. I will share the recipe with you, but not today. The reason being that everything went so well, I had to come back to my matcha idea. I wanted to make a matcha foam and see if I could make it work.
- 200ml Water
- 2 Teaspoons Matcha Powder
- 2 Sheets of Gelatin
Bring the water up to a temperature of 70°C (158°F) and add the matcha powder. Stir with a whisk until well combined. Meanwhile soak the gelatin in cold water for five minutes. Take the gelatin, squeeze out the excess water and dissolve in the warm matcha. Fill everything into a cream whipper and charge with N20 (or C02), shake and refrigerate.
The above recipe produces a light foam. If you want a more sturdy foam, for a more three dimensional result, then just add another sheet of gelatin. If you want something fluffier, more like air, then use a sheet less.
I was quite content with my matcha foam, but there was no time to rest. I had to come up with a cocktail recipe to go along with it. To get a feeling for what could work with this foam I had a taste. The consistency and taste immediately reminded me of the matcha lattes I had in Japan. The idea to make some kind of matcha latte and White Russian hybrid was born.
Because I wanted a creamy consistency while keeping the drink relatively light, I decided to mix up milk and heavy cream. Matcha and milk go great together and a nice touch of vanilla never hurts. In the end I added some additional chocolate flavor to make everything more interesting, which was a good decision.
The Green Wave
- 30ml Smirnoff Vodka
- 15ml Galliano Vanilla
- 7.5ml Mozart Chocolate Vodka
- 10ml Simple Syrup
- 45ml Whole Milk
- 15ml Heavy Cream
- Matcha Foam
Pour the vodka, Galliano, Mozart, syrup, milk and cream into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass and top up with matcha foam.
When shaken with enough vigor the resulting milk mixture will be creamy and foamy already, but the additional matcha foam adds a nice layer of complexity. It creates an extra fluffy feeling and adds a nice contrast in taste as it isn't as sweet as the rest of the cocktail.
This is a liquid dessert, with lots of flavors combining sweetness with the unique taste of matcha. The rich texture adds to the feeling of enjoying a dessert. Floating the matcha on top as a foam makes it more interesting, since the other ingredients are allowed to stand out more. Adding the matcha to the other ingredients and shaking it too would result in a more boring and uniform cocktail.
All's Well That Ends Well
I'm very happy that I was able to mix up a cocktail using matcha like I originally intended to. I even ended up with something I can serve after a nice dinner, which is always a plus. Making matcha foam is really simple and doesn't take a lot of ingredients, so if you have a cream whipper you should try it yourself. You can even prepare it a day in advance and the amount of foam is enough for at least six cocktails.
Another thing I learned is that a cream whipper is quite fun to use. And you don't have to make crazy complicated mixtures. You can produce some really fast and easy foams to use in cocktails. I will take a closer look at my New York Sour variation and see where I can take it. And maybe you will see me using more foams and adventurous mixtures as I get more familiar with this neat tool. Follow me on Twitter or subscribe via email to find out.
Title image via pixabay.