So, you’re running low on booze and ideas. You’ve mixed every combination of ingredients you can think of and tried even the stuff in the dusty bottles on the back of the bar cart. What do you do now? How about taking one of those tried and true recipes and adding an egg? Eggs, more specifically, egg whites and cocktails go together like, well, anything and cocktails. They’re a great addition to many drinks.
Egg whites are called for in a few classes of cocktails. Flips, fizzes and egg nog, of course. But the primary place you’ll find them is in sours. Sours are mixes of a base spirit, citrus and a sweetener. Usually simple syrup. The proportions vary, but if you start with about 1-1/2 to 2 ounces of base spirit, 1 oz of citrus and 1/2 ounce of simple syrup, you’re well on your way (see our recipes for a Pisco Sour and a Whiskey Sour to get a good start).
Let’s address the elephant in the room (or is that a chicken?). You think you’re going to die of salmonella poisoning if you use a raw egg in your drinks. Am I right? Yeah, I know I am. The fact is that salmonella in eggs is incredibly rare and when it does occur, it’s usually in the yolk. About 1 in 20,000 eggs is found to have salmonella. Almost all of those because the shell is cracked. There are way more occurrences of salmonella in melon than in eggs. Statistically, you’re four times more likely to badly hurt yourself in a fall than get salmonella from an egg. And, by the way, we think wthe tiny risk is entirely worth it. Egg whites add an incredible texture and froth to almost any drink. Finally, if you’re worried about the flavor. Don’t. An egg white adds no flavor at all to the drink.
Now that I’ve convinced you – I did, right? There’s some procedural stuff you need to know. First, how to prepare the egg white. Well, extraction might be a better word than preparation. When I first used egg whites, I made a complete mess of things. My wife, who is a professionally trained chef, took pity on me and gave me an easy way of getting the egg white separated from the yolk – using my hands. Crack the egg and empty its contents into a small bowl, then simply extract the yolk with your fingers. Use the extra yolks from your drinks and do some baking. Do I even need to mention during lockdown that you should wash your hands first? Of course, you should be washing your hands anyway. Voila! What’s left is your cocktail’s ingredient.
The other procedural change is that you’ll want to first dry shake all the drink’s ingredients – spirit, citrus, sweetener and egg white in your shaker. Dry shaking is shaking the ingredients without ice. This will help break up the proteins in the egg white and give it a frothier texture. Note that I specified shaking. You don’t want to stir a drink with an egg. You won’t break it down that way. So, shake vigorously.
After about 30 seconds of dry shaking, add ice and shake until cold. Very cold. That has nothing to do with the egg white. Most drinks are just better cold. Whether you add more ice to the cocktail as you serve it or not will depend upon the cocktail you’re making and your personal taste.
That’s it! Try it with sours you’ve made during lockdown or with any other drink you want to give a thicker or frothier texture to. It’ll really only add a few minutes to your prep. Once we’re out of the Lockdown, we’re willing to bet that drinks with egg whites will be in your standard mixology rotation.