Foam In Cocktails Is Attempting To Make A Comeback

As mixology and bartending have continued to evolve, one trend that has passed in and out of popularity is the use of cocktail foam. Cocktail foam, made from ingredients such as egg whites or aquafaba (the water from a can of chickpeas), adds a frothy texture and visual appeal to cocktails. Foam had its heyday in the early 2000s, when it was introduced by gastronomists experimenting with textures. It had a short but memorable run at trendy cocktail bars, but now seems poised to make a comeback after recently appearing on the Netflix mixology competition show "Drink Masters."

One reason for the rise of cocktail foam is the desire to create visually stunning drinks that are Instagram-worthy. However, foam also adds a new dimension to cocktails, enhancing their texture and flavor while allowing strong flavors to exist in their lightest possible form in a drink. "Drink Masters" finalist Kate Gerwin told Punch, "Foam provides the designer of the cocktail a way to highlight an ingredient without making it super strong." The foam can carry the aroma of ingredients such as bitters, herbs, or fruits and create a more complex sensory experience.

How to make and use cocktail foam

To make cocktail foam, bartenders use a technique called dry shaking, which involves shaking the ingredients in a shaker without ice. This creates a thicker, frothier texture than shaking with ice, which can dilute the foam. Bartenders may also use specialized tools such as nitrous oxide chargers or hand-held cream whippers to create the foam.

Some bartenders have taken the trend even further, creating multi-layered cocktails with different flavored foams. For example, a margarita might have a foam layer made with sea salt foam instead of a salt rim. Happy Accidents, the Albuquerque bar owned by "Drink Masters" finalist Kate Gerwin, is a big believer in foam. Gerwin told Punch, "It provides a lot to the cocktail texturally that you can't get out of shaking the ever-living crap out of a drink." Diversion bar in Houston has foam on its menu, as well. Clover Club, the chic cocktail bar owned by "Drink Masters" judge Julie Reiner, features multiple drinks topped with a frothy egg white — including the bar's signature Clover Club that was featured as a challenge on the Netflix show.

While cocktail foam is a fun and visually appealing trend, it's important to use it in moderation. Too much foam can overpower the drink and make it difficult to drink, and some people may have allergies or aversions to ingredients such as egg whites or aquafaba. At the end of the day, a drink should have a liquid component.