Wait, they’re putting garbanzo bean water in my drink?
I hadn’t noticed at first, as I had become transfixed by the look of Esker Grove—the new restaurant in the Walker Art Center. The clean lines, the stately back bar, the false perspective of the floor-to-ceiling windows that make it look like the restaurant extends into the sculpture garden, all enveloped in a serene, downy white.
But then Jon Olson and Ryan Martinez-Garcia start telling me about aquafaba (that’s the bean water). It mimics an egg white when shaken, and leaves a trace of savory legume flavor that melds nicely with the porcini and licorice tea they turned into simple syrup.
This drink isn’t on the menu at Esker quite yet—they’ll be working on fizz iterations for the spring menu. And it’s not the kind of drink you’ll swoon for at first sip. Like the art you’ll find upstairs, it’s meant to be challenging and a little off-kilter. But by the end of the drink, when the aquafaba has kept its foamy shape much longer than egg whites ever would have, you consider the whole experience and smile because, now, you get it.
Contemporary Gin Fizz
- 2 ounces Tattersall Barreled Gin
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- ¾ ounce mushroom syrup (see recipe below)
- 2 dashes Bittercube Orange Bitters
- 1 ounce garbanzo bean water (or 1 egg white)
Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice, double strain into a coupe glass, garnish with a grating of lemon zest and a dried mushroom.
- 5 grams dried porcini mushrooms
- 5 grams licorice root (see this month’s Spirits Close-Up), twigs slightly broken up
Place mushrooms and licorice root in separate small glasses. Warm 1 ½ cups of water and pour an equal amount in each glass. Let steep for 45 minutes. Strain the teas. Combine equal parts (say, 2 ounces each) mushroom tea and licorice root tea in a mixing bowl. Add equal amount of sugar by volume (4 ounces) and whisk until dissolved.