Welcome to the third in a series of Liquor Snob posts in partnership with PAMA pomegranate liqueur. If you like this one, check out our first and second posts.
It's one thing to be able to make a delicious cocktail - say achieving the perfect balance of sweet, sour and strong and creating flavors that dance on the tongue - but believe it or not flavor isn't the only thing that can make a good cocktail great. Texture is an unsung hero of for many home bar tenders, and playing with texture can be a fun way to achieve the next level for your drinks. What do we mean by texture? It can be anything from the "mouth feel" to other tactile experiences associated with a drink - learn more below.
What do we mean by "texture"? Basically it's anything that affects the physical feel of your interaction with the drink. Camper at Alcademics put together a nice list of textural descriptors to help you wrap your head around it, and also included some excellent tips for manipulating texture in your drinks:
Some Texture Descriptors for Cocktails and Spirits
Thick, syrupy, not dilute enough
Thin, weak, non-integrated, over-shaken
Soft, pillowy, foamy, frothy
Slushy, viscous, chewy
As pointed out in the above post there are all kinds of ways to fiddle with the texture of a cocktail, including:
- Modifying Sweeteners & Other Ingredients: Adding or removing sugar, or changing what you use to sweeten a cocktail (e.g., honey, agave nectar, etc.) can also change the mouth feel.
- Modifying Ice & Temperature: Shaking a drink will break up the ice and cause it to form a layer on top of the finished cocktail; stirring does not do this. Chilling a drink more will change the liquid's viscosity - be careful because too cold or too warm can both negatively change the experience of a drink.
- Adding Specific Texture Modifiers: An old trick for foaming up a cocktail is to add egg whites before you shake. You can also play with thickeners, pectins and other specific modifiers to change the feel of a drink, or substitute sparkling wine or seltzer for a still ingredient.
- Modifying Glassware: Rimming a glass with salt or sugar is a sure fire way to change the drinking experience.
PAMA's position is that their product is excellent for toying with certain aspects of texture for multiple reasons, one big one being the tannins from the pomegranate, which "have a drying effect on the tongue and cause the mouth to water in response creating the illusion of texture on the palate." Learn other ways PAMA can change a drink's texture at Pama Pros.
An excellent time to be thinking about texture is when you're pairing your cocktails with food. If you're about to tear into a 2,000 calorie meal of turkey, stuffing, gravy, and pie, are you going to want a thick, heavy, syrupy cocktail, or do you want something frothy and light? We know how we'd answer - and we've put together a list of Thanksgiving-friendly cocktails using PAMA that will pair well with your turkey day and give you a few chances to play with texture.
Continue reading: "PAMA, Texture and Thanksgiving, Oh My!"
Tis the season to wish you were James Bond, what with Skyfall out right now, and the bar10der just might make you the man with a golden shaker this year. This 10-in-one bartending tool includes a muddler, a stirrer, knives (channel and regular), zester, reamer, jigger, bottle opener, cork screw and strainer. It's also (we assume) Q-approved for dangerous missions, so whip out your license to mix and whip us up a Vesper.
Bar10der Ten-in-One Ultimate Bartending Tool (Orange); learn more at thebar10der.com
For some people, the idea of "white whiskey" just brings up connotations of unaged white lightning made in a car radiator. In reality it's just whiskey that is often unaged or only lightly aged, so doesn't have that deep brown color we often associate with bourbons, etc. We hadn't heard of the new white whiskey from Jim Beam, "Jacob's Ghost," until recently but we stumbled across this review of the stuff on Drink Spirits:
Jim Beam Jacob's Ghost (80 proof / 40%, $21.99) is pale gold in color. It might be more aptly named "off-white whiskey" but the color is so faint, when you get it in a glass (especially with ice), it looks white. The nose of Jacob's Ghost makes it clear that it has spent time in a barrel, with light oak tones combined with sweet corn, vanilla, light cereal grains, and a slight briny note. The nose has a slight spicy quality to it which may be from the young rye and barley in the mash, as well as its time in oak.
When you read the full review
one thing they note is that a 1-year-aged white whiskey has a higher price point than Jim Beam's white label, which is aged for at least four years. Beam has been dabbling with trying to get non-whiskey drinkers interested in whiskey for a couple years now with their flavored offerings - our guess is they're now courting the vodka market, but we've been wrong before.