Sunday, September 15, 2013

St. Germain Cocktail Foam (Alcoholic Whipped Cream)

Well, it's been too long.  I wish I had an excuse aside from laziness, but it's all I've got.  That being said, this post is all about cocktail foams, or as my friends have started calling it, "alcoholic whipped cream." Whatever you want to call it, it goes great on top of your drink or your waffle.

 To make a cocktail foam, you need an isi whipper (pictured below).  I realize this makes for a less-accessible drink, but it's a worthwhile investment if you like messing around in the kitchen as there are tons of cooking and/or drinking techniques you can utilize with it.

Anyways, your basic recipe will be 2 oz lemon juice, 2 gold gelatin sheets, 3 oz St. Germain, 4 oz egg whites, 6 oz 2::1 simple syrup (that's a 2 to 1 ratio of sugar to water).  Kathy Casey gets credit for this general recipe.  You'll then use two NO2 charges to inject into the whipper and start the emulsion process.

Begin by getting each ingredient prepared separately.  Start with the egg whites.  If you use actual eggs, make sure they're fresh and make sure you strain out any of the unsavory bits of the egg.  Using egg white mixture is much easier, but you can do either.  I've made it both ways and both turned out great.

 Fresh squeezed lemon juice.  Always go fresh, always strain.  Beehive juicer pictured.

Get 2 gold gelatin sheets.  Soak them in a bowl of ice cold water for 10 minutes.  Take them out and squeeze out any excess water.  They'll be gushy.   

Simple syrup is sugar water.  Nothing more.  You well usually see reference to the ratio of sugar to water.  Here, I use a 2:1.  Also, in normal drinks, using better sugar like turbinado sugar is recommended, but here it's not as important.  Add the sugar to the water and heat it over medium to dissolve the sugar into the water.

Once you get everything ready, add the simple syrup and lemon juice to a pot.  Heat on medium for a couple minutes.  Add the St. Germain and gelatin sheets (once they're bloomed!) to the pan and stir until the sheets are dissolved.  DO NOT BOIL.  Once it's dissolved, remove from heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.  Then, add the egg whites.  If you don't wait for the mixture to cool first, you will scramble eggs.  Mmmmmm.

Stir, and strain into the isi whipper.  I run it through a mesh strainer into a funnel for ease.  After it's all in (make sure you don't go past the fill line, which this recipe won't) charge the isi whipper twice with the NO2.  Shake thoroughly after each injection.  Chill for 5 hours or overnight.  

Once you have your St. Germain foam, you've got to use it!  I decided to try a few different variations.  First, I tried a modified Sazerac:

1 oz rye
1 oz Cognac
3 dash Peychaud's bitters 
1 dash absinthe
1 sugar cube
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Garnish with lemon twist.

Do an absinthe rinse in a chilled class, add about 2 fingers of the foam, then add the rest of the cocktail over the foam.  If there is a hole, cover it with more foam.  Garnish with lemon.

This was good.  The normal Sazerac was too strong of a contrast so I added an old school Sazerac ingredient, Cognac, in place of half the rye to mellow it out.  Plus the juice of half a lemon.  Definitely a fun variation on the Sazerac, but not my favorite.  I'm also a purist, so I might be a little biased.  St. Germain, rye, and cognac do go well together, though. 

Next I tried something of a modified French 75 where I cut the gin entirely and used a half and half blend of Lillet Blanc and Cocchi Americano instead.

.75 oz Lillet Blanc
.75 oz Cocchi Americano
.5 oz 1::1 simple syrup
.5 oz  mango lemonade 

Shake everything but the champagne with ice, pour into a champagne flute, top with champagne, but leave room for the St. Germain foam.  Garnish with grapefruit zest. 

This was nice.  Good brunch cocktail.  Very elegant.  The foam pairs naturally with pretty much everything here, except maybe the Cocchi, but it works well here.  Mango lemonade was used instead of lemon juice because I ran out of lemons.  Nice variation, but lemon worked great, too, when I got more.

Next on the list was a variation on a mezcal old fashioned.

2 oz mezcal reposado
.5 oz pomegranate raspberry tea simple syrup (see previous posts)
3 dashes falernum bitters (see previous posts)
Juice of half a lime

Shake with ice, pour over a large ice sphere, top with St Germain foam, garnish with an orange twist.  This was good, but the mezcal is just too potent.  It needed more juice to cut the mezcal.  Maybe the juice of half a grapefruit.  Something needs to bridge the gap between the mezcal and the St. Germain.

Finally I did a rum variation.  For some reason I forgot to take a picture of all the ingredients.  Sorry, my loyal two readers.  I really let you guys down, I know.

2 oz Crusoe Rum (brand matters here...the vanilla notes just work so well with the foam).
.5 oz pomegranate raspberry tea syrup (see previous posts)
3 dashes falernum bitters (see previous posts)
Juice of half a lime
Juice of half a grapefruit 

Shake with ice, top with St. Germain foam, garnish with fresh ground cinnamon.  This was the collective favorite of everyone who tried these, including myself.  Best blend of flavors.  Also, the cinnamon on top was a great addition.  This one's a keeper in my cocktail repertoire, for sure.

That's all for now, thanks for reading.  Next update will not take as long, I promise.  Either quick infusions via the isi whipper, new bitter experiments, or fat washing.  Haven't decided yet.

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