Last month we looked at versatility in cocktails. Today we’re exploring texture. Along with taste, aroma and visual sensations, texture is a key component to how we perceive and experience cocktails. Regardless of flavor, drinks with too much or too little texture won’t be as pleasing to the palate as drinks that are texturally balanced.
Cocktails with proper texture result in drinks that feel substantial. While drinks that are too watery and thin often leave the drinker wanting more. Not more of the same, but a more robust mouthfeel. Texture can be achieved through a variety of means, including
Syrups – Syrups add both flavor and texture to cocktails. Look at everything from gomme syrup and tiki syrups to homemade shrub syrups.
Dairy – Milk, cream and cream-based liqueurs are an easy way to add rich texture to cocktails.
Ice – Blend some ice in your daiquiri or margarita, and you’ve just made a slushy. Or build a Julep or other cocktail with crushed ice, and the small ice chips give some textural sensation to each sip.
Sugar – In addition to sweetening drinks, simple syrup gives cocktails a silky texture. Same goes for honey and agave. You can increase or decrease the silkiness by experimenting with your sweetener-to-water ratio.
Eggs – Egg whites give cocktails a frothy head. You’ve probably experienced this yourself in whiskey sours and pisco sours.
Tannins – Tannins are found in wines, coffees and pomegranates, to name a few. For example, the tannic structure of PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur adds a substantial, silky component to cocktails like in the 50/50 Proposition, below.
1.5 oz PAMA
1.5 oz Cognac
1 dash orange bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice, then strain into a snifter over one large ice cube.
It’s a simple cocktail to be sure. But as Mixologist Eben Freeman notes: “PAMA’s tannic structure allows it to work as a primary spirit, where it balances the strength of the Cognac. It is so well balanced between sweet and tart that it can even work as a primary spirit, where it balances the strength of its partner spirit, making it a fully-fledged cocktail with just the addition of a dash of bitters.”
For more, check out PamaPros.com.