All About Aquafaba, The Cocktail Ingredient Tom Schwartz Feels Conflicted About

Photo: Tommy Garcia/Bravo.
Last night, the on-screen bar opening most anticipated by Bravo fans finally happened. TomTom, the brainchild of Tom Sandoval, Tom Schwartz, Lisa Vanderpump, Ken Todd, and designer Nick Alain, hosted its very first guests during this week's episode of Vanderpump Rules. Instead of the clock-themed decor, the framed photo of Tom and Tom sharing a kiss, or even James Kennedy's sequestered DJ booth, however, everyone was left talking about aquafaba, a single cocktail ingredient that was strangely given a lot of airtime.
In last night's VPR episode, Tom Schwartz was left panicking over the fact that they had run out of aquafaba and even popped out of the party to pick up supplies to make it. Schwartz was so concerned about their aquafaba shortage that he used the word six times in around 70 seconds. In his talking head interview that was played during this aquafaba debacle, thanks to the expert editors over at Bravo, Schwartz explained that aquafaba is a vegan egg white substitute that's made from the viscous liquid that comes in cans of chickpeas, but unsurprisingly, Schwartzie's explanation wasn't totally complete.
What some people may not realize is that whipped egg whites are often used in cocktails to give them that frothy texture that is seen atop trendy drinks, and aquafaba is a way to obtain that texture without using animal products. Like Schwartz said, Vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli explained to Refinery29 via email that aquafaba is made from the liquid you usually drain from a can of beans. "It's made by whipping the liquid with either a hand or stand mixer (I prefer hand mixer!), for about 5 minutes until you start to see stiff, firm but fluffy 'peaks.'" According to Coscarelli, it can take a beat for those peaks to form. "Be patient! Sometimes it can take longer than 5 minutes." No wonder Schwartz said aquafaba wasn't conducive to making batch beverages quickly.
Though Schwartz bemoaned the fact that aquafaba wasn't quite as silky as egg whites, Coscarelli says many chefs prefer it to egg whites because its a safe, neutral palette. "You can flavor aquafaba just like you can with tofu, as it has no real detectable taste! And since aquafaba is vegan, chefs don’t have to worry about any dietary restrictions, allergies, or salmonella. Also, why not repurpose something that would otherwise be dumped down the drain?!"
Coscarelli told us that it can be "fun" to incorporate aquafaba into fancy cocktail recipes. "When shaken, it creates a creamy foam which is perfect for topping some cocktails. The general rule is two tablespoon of aquafaba equals one egg white." So it sounds like aquafaba actually was a great choice by Schwartz and Sandoval. We're glad all that time they spent planning TomTom's cocktail menu is paying off.

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