Hack Your Drink: The Key to “Fluffy Citrus”

Aerating citrus in a blender is the secret to a frothier, more aromatic drink.

At New York’s Dante, creative director Naren Young transformed his Garibaldi cocktail into an instant success, thanks to one key ingredient: “fluffy orange juice.” Achieved by using a high-speed Breville juicer, the resulting OJ is extra aerated for an ethereally light, frothy texture.

However, it’s possible to achieve a similar frothiness via a regular blender, immersion blender or even a milk frother, as Pavel Pamukchiev, a Bulgaria-based bartender often does. “In every house there is some kind of blender,” he notes.

Pamukchiev, a “traveling mixologist” who runs a mobile bar called Caravan Bar, uses this technique to add dimension to simple cocktail constructions like his Gin and Juice, consisting simply of blended grapefruit juice, gin and three dashes of yellow Chartreuse. In addition to fluffing up the texture, the treatment of the juice also intensifies the flavors and aromatics in the drink. “It isn’t something genius behind it,” he says. “It’s a small, easy, simple technique.”

For an even more elevated version of his Gin and Juice, Pamukchiev goes one step further, integrating grapefruit peel into the construction for more citrus flavor. He macerates the peels of three grapefruits with a quarter-cup of sugar for 24 hours to make an oleo saccharum, which is then combined with the juice of the grapefruits. “The classic is a tasty drink, and super easy,” but this method “gives the juice more natural flavor,” he says.

After that, Pamikchiev adds the improved juice to the blender, without ice. Pamukchiev then pulses the blender four to five times, each for just a couple of seconds. “You can see how the texture is different,” he notes. “It makes a little foam on top of the juice. And every time a bubble pops, it releases flavor and aroma.”

In addition to the Gin and Juice, Pamukchiev recommends trying this technique with classics like the Paloma or the Greyhound. However, for drinks that are usually shaken, he suggests skipping that step: “You have to pour the juice right after you make it fluffy,” he advises. Otherwise, the juice will deflate and the impact will be lost.

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