November 13, 2012

PAMA, Texture and Thanksgiving, Oh My!

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.

pama_pairings.jpgWhat 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
Bubbly, fizzy
Tannic, astringent
Soft, pillowy, foamy, frothy
Slushy, viscous, chewy
Gloppy, chunky

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.

pama_turkey.pngTextural Twists on Thanksgiving Cocktails
You don't have to garnish your drinks with a turkey leg or add stuffing to your ice cubes to bring textural changes to food that will pair well with your holiday meal. We've included some recipes below, as well as suggestions for how to tweak them:

  • Apple-Cran-Bitter Cocktail: This unnamed drink posted on Chowhound gives you a few different ways to play with texture and what looks to be a delicious aperatif. Try rimming the glass with sugar instead of subbing in simple syrup to tweak the texture a bit.

  • Rosemary Fresca: Herbs and sparkling wine work together to make an airy, refreshing cocktail that will pair with just about anything on your Thanksgiving table.

  • American in Paris: Replace the creme de cassis with PAMA if you don't have the other on hand, and you can make a drink very reminiscent of a Manhattan - experiment with shaking the pants off it vs stirring to see what you think about the difference it makes in your sips

  • Manzarita: This apple-based takeoff on a margarita can be tweaked in a few ways - swap PAMA in for elderflower liqueur to change the color; a cinnamon & sugar rim on the glass could be another tweak.

We'll keep thinking about other textural & structural ideas and update this post more as Turkey Day approaches.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a "sponsored post." The company who sponsored it compensated us via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will be good for our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.". We'd also like to thank PAMA for sending us samples of their product to review.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at November 13, 2012 6:06 AM
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