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Harold McGee, Food Science Guru, Turns His Attention to Serious Drinking

• Paul Adams via PopSci
The annual Tales of the Cocktail convention happened again in New Orleans last week, I seem to recall. And somewhere between the sazeracs and the rusty nails, I attended a series of enlightening seminars (each accompanied by appropriate cocktails, of course).

Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking and probably the most famous name in food science, was present at Tales for the first time, to lend his expertise to a deserving cocktail world. He sat on a panel with Audrey Saunders, celebrated owner of New York's Pegu Club, and Tony Conigliaro, who pushes the frontiers of molecular mixology at London's 69 Colebrooke Row. Over the course of 90 minutes, during which Pegu's head bartender Kenta Goto mixed illustrative drinks for the audience, the trio of experts dropped some fascinating and useful tidbits of cocktail science. Here are some highlights.

Froth Your Drinks Right

When shaking up a drink that you want frothy, egg white is your friend, since its proteins bond together permanently to give structure to a foam. Gelatin, the protein more commonly used in culinary foams, tends to melt after a while, since its protein bonds only temporarily. Shake the egg white at room temperature first, since it foams better warmer; then chill the drink. A shaker made of silver produces a softer, more delicate foam because of the metal's interaction with the egg.

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