Operators are now crafting cocktails with an ingredient that used to be tossed down the sink. Bartenders find that aquafaba, or the liquid drained from canned chickpeas or white beans, whips into a smooth, high-volume foam, much like egg whites. When shaken with other ingredients for cocktails such as pisco and whiskey sours, it forms a velvety, foamy head. Jason Eisner, beverage director for five-unit LA-based Cafe Gratitude, began experimenting with the liquid to make eggless pisco sours for vegan customers. “Typically, the bartender has to vigorously dry-shake egg whites in a tin for up to four minutes to create a thick foam on sours,” he says. The switch reduces the time, skill and labor it takes to make the drinks, Eisner says.
Here's a look at how he and others are using the liquid to make inroads on food menus with zero waste.
Southwest Whiskey Sour
To create riffs on basic sours, Eisner starts by combining aquafaba with the other drink ingredients and ice in a cocktail shaker. He gives it a short shake, then strains the mixture into a pitcher. Using a compact hand-held immersion blender, he can whip up a foamy head in five to seven seconds, speeding throughput and allowing more time to focus on the guest, he says. For his Southwest Whiskey Sour, he adds honey and chili spices to the standard recipe. Eisner drains the canned chickpea liquid and keeps it refrigerated, separately from the beans, for up to two weeks. “This helps it lose its pungency, and the lemon or lime juices in a whiskey sour do an incredible job of masking any bean flavor,” he says.