Who doesn’t love drinking raw egg? If you answered, “me!” to that question, we’re sorry to let you know that you’re wrong… You may have forgotten that more often than not, the frothy topping on your cocktail is egg white. And it’s great, isn’t it?
In the UK, 500 million people have become vegan in the last decade. Fortunately, there are alternatives to eggs, so nobody has to miss out on the foamy fun! Foams might seem like an unnecessary flourish designed by bartenders for a flash of flair, but they give drinks a depth and richness that wouldn’t exist without them. Let’s dive into the world of foams!
Foam is essentially just bubbles, but foams can have different densities depending on how close the bubbles are to each other and how many bubbles there are. Making a foam usually requires a particular mixture of ingredients, although the exact ingredients can vary from drink to drink. These ingredients are usually an acid (such as lemon juice) to stabilise the foam, a sweetener to give it its flavour, a dilutant to create the foam, and a protein to give it some structure.
Egg foams are the most common and simple to make. All you need to do is add egg white and citrus to a shaker and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. The egg white contains everything required to create a stable foam and the longer you shake the mixture, the more foam you get. This technique is probably most famously used in a whiskey sour which can be created with a few simple additional steps.
To create a vegan foam, something like Xanthan gum is a great substitute for the protein. For a thicker foam, you might need to find a soy-based protein such as Versawhip. To make the foam, dissolve the powder in fruit juice (usually pineapple or orange). You can then pulse the mixture in a blender or add the mixture to a cream whipper.
This foam is not common but is great for creative bartenders. This is simple to make by putting beer into a cream whipper, but beware, the foam can collapse quite quickly if not decarbonated or whipped without Xantham gum.
Pre-made cocktail foamers are now also widely available, dispensing instant foam from a small bitters bottle. They’re usually long-life and vegan too!