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Home » How to Make ‘Creamier’ Cocktails Without Any Cream

How to Make ‘Creamier’ Cocktails Without Any Cream

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Photo: Claire Lower

With the exception of corn milk punch, creamy cocktails aren’t really my bag. Adding full-fat dairy to a cup of ethanol can cause some curdling issues, but it’s the heaviness of half & half and cream that make it hard for me to enjoy them. Still, there’s no denying that a hint of creaminess can give a cocktail a more rounded, satisfying viscosity.

There are two ways you can add a little richness to your beverage without reaching for actual cream: Powdered lactic acid and leftover burrata water. The former may have to be special ordered (but isn’t hard to find), while the latter is a great way to use up something that would otherwise go down the drain.

Add cultured tang with lactic acid

Lactic acid is a byproduct of fermentation, and it’s what gives cultured dairy products like yogurt and kefir their tang. It’s mostly sour, but sour in a way that reminds your mouth of those cultured dairy products in which you usually find it.

According to PUNCH, dissolving lactic acid in simple syrup is the best way to create a creamy mouthfeel without any cream. The most popular versions are often made with vanilla bean. PUNCH has two recipes for vanilla lactic syrup: a simple one you can make with a whisk and a much more elaborate one that involves an immersion circulator and a good bit of straining.

The syrups pair particularly well with fruity sours—think orange, strawberry, and pineapple—creating creamsicle vibes and rounding out the more acidic fruit flavors.

Add body with burrata water

I’ve written about adding burrata water to sours before, and it has to be one of my all-time favorite party tricks (beverage category). As I explained previously, the leftover packing water not only makes your cocktail feel round and creamy, but not at all heavy, it creates a super stable egg-free foam:

I added the suggested ounce of burrata water to this simple gin sour recipe from PUNCH, and shook everything together—first without ice (which is called a “dry shake”), then again with ice. The foam was impressively stable—it held strong for 20 minutes!—and the whey added a pleasant creamy texture and slight saltiness.

Making your own creamy, foamy, egg-free cocktail is easy. Just use this plug-and-play formula:

  • 2 ounces liquor (gin and whiskey are classics here)
  • 1 ounce burrata water
  • 3/4 ounces lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounces simple syrup
  • Combine everything in a cocktail shaker, and shake without ice for 30 seconds. Add ice—I like to use one giant cube—and shake vigorously until the shaker becomes very cold. Strain into a coupe glass, marvel at the foam, and enjoy.

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