How To Make Cocktail Foam & What To Do With It.
By: Kyle P.
Creamy, frothy, and potentially packed with flavor; cocktail foam is becoming a great way to make unique cocktails. It’s easier than you think to make and using cocktail foam will elevate your standard recipe to a serious showstopper.
I think everyone remembers how they first reacted to hearing about drinking a raw egg. It’s ok, you didn’t know, we all didn’t know. But in spite of how bad it sounds, adding an egg to a drink can give it a richness and body that wasn’t there before. In fact, there are many ways to make Cocktail Foam that don’t include egg.
You should get familiar with the basics first. Check out Cocktail 101: A Beginners Guide to Home Bartending to get you started with the core mechanics. Then swing back around and get foamy with us.
In this article, we are going to start by briefly going over how foams are made and the tools you can use to make them. Then into the basics of creating foams using different ingredients and the techniques to do it. So who’s ready to get foamy?
Cocktail Foam Basics
How Are Foams Made?
Foam is bubbles. How many, and how far apart are what changes the flavor and density of the foam. But you can’t just shake up anything and expect foam to appear. There are special ingredients and techniques that you must know if you want great foams for your cocktails.
In order to make a liquid want to bubble and turn into a foam, you need a team of specific ingredients. They are:
An Acid – An acid like lemon juice will stabilize the foam.
A Sweetener – This will sweeten and hide the flavor of the protein.
A Dilutant – What will become the foam.
A Protein – To create the structure of the foam.
For a good foam to form you need each one of these types of ingredients. But the ratios change depending on what you want to accomplish, or what tools you plan on using.
Tools Used to Create Cocktail Foam
There are a few ways you can make a foam, anyone who has made whipped cream by hand can attest to that. But you don’t have to do it the hard way to do it right, you have options. For instance, an immersion blender can help you prep batches of foam for the night in minutes. Furthermore, a nitrous based whipping siphon will make you the richest, most dense foams in seconds. Here is a handy list that will help you grab what you need.
- A Cocktail Shaker
- Immersion Blender
- Whipping Siphon
- N20 Chargers
- Scale with 1/10g Accuracy or Better
Ingredients to Grab for Cocktail Foam
Your standard bar setup will have most everything you need, but if you want to go egg-free you will need to buy some specific ingredients. You will need xanthan gum, gelatin, or gum arabic. Powdered egg whites can also be used, but of course, those aren’t vegan.
When it comes to creating cocktail foams, egg foams are the go-to for most bartenders. They are the most common and have a standard technique that many have experience with. To create an egg foam, the typical approach is to add an egg white to a citrus-filled drink and shake it warm. The egg white provides everything needed to stabilize the foam, and shaking it with a cocktail shaker will create the desired result. After that, simply shake the mixture again with ice to chill it. Let’s take the Whisky Sour as an example.
- 1.5 oz Whisky
- 0.5 oz Lemon Juice
- 0.5 oz Simple Syrup
- 1 Egg white
Dry Shake all ingredients to create a stable foam. Longer you shake, more foam you get. After shaking dry, add ice and shake to chill. Pour into a coupe glass and garnish.
Whipping Siphon Immersion Blender Cocktail Foam Recipe
When using a whipping siphon or immersion blender you will want to make more at a time. This way you can prep a whole evening. Take a look at the following recipe that will let you batch create cocktail foam.
- 4 Egg Whites
- 6 oz Water
- 2 oz Lemon Juice
- 2 oz Simple Syrup
Mix everything BUT the egg whites into the whipping siphon, then add your egg whites. Secure the lid and shake. Afterward, dispense 2 Nitrous chargers into the whipping siphon. Shake well and use the trigger to create instant foam!
A bar above has a great video and article on the subject and you can check that out here. Chris does a great job at explaining the details and the video is well put together.
If you want to use an immersion blender, follow the same steps but place the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Then use the blender to whip. It should come together rather quickly once you have gotten a foam started.
When we look at the essentials in creating a foam, beer seems to have all of them inherently. Beer naturally has acid, starch, and is often foamy without added help. So what if we added some help?
The result is a delicious beer flavored foam that you can use in all new creative ways. One thing about beer foam though, is that it tends to collapse quickly. As a result, you have a sad wimpy mess just minutes after you craft. A fix is to decarbonate the beer, add some xanthan gum, then put the mixture into a whipping siphon with both CO2 and N2O. This article from serious eats has a great section on beer foam you should look at.
If you are looking to drop the egg and get a great foam there are options. Xanthan gum is a great way to add that protein element without being animal based. But xanthan by itself can only create loose to medium density foams. If you want something super thick and creamy you will need to add a soy-based protein like Versawhip.
Xanthan Only Vegan Foam
- 1 Cup Strong Flavored Fruit Juice
- 2 Grams Xanthan Gum
Combine ingredients and allow the xanthan gum 5 minutes to dissolve. Add to whipping siphon and then use two nitrous chargers to fill. This will dispense a nice fruit froth and the flavor from the xanthan should be masked.
Flavoring and Using Foams
All the recipes so far have done little to add flavor or have they detailed how to use the foam in an actual cocktail. But I’m sure by now your imagination has been turning and imagining all the ways you could use this.
For example, you could make a red wine foam by replacing the water with wine. Or maybe you have made an infused simple syrup that has a lot of flavors, it’s easy to use that in your foam recipe.
An easy way to use cocktail foam is to put the foam into a coup then pour your drink into it. The foam will float and rise to the top. This blackberry bourbon cocktail features this exact technique. Check it out!
Cocktail foams are a fun way to add different texture and flavor to your menu. Likewise, they are an exceptional way to add value to your menu because the cost to create is so low. For these reasons, and many more, cocktail foam will be here to stay. Be sure to sign up to our newsletter to get the latest posts and updates.