Why and How We Use Egg Whites in Cocktails

Why and How We Use Egg Whites in Cocktails

You may not think of eggs and egg whites as essential ingredients for behind the bar, but bartenders have considered them a staple for decades (and even centuries). 

If you’re squeamish about the idea of raw egg coming in contact with your favorite drink, don’t be – studies have shown that you’re four times more likely to choke on a handful of bar nuts than you are to get salmonella poisoning (plus, most drinks that use raw egg also have fresh lime or lemon juice that help lower the risk even further). 

If you have no idea what we’re talking about or if you’re thinking, “Wait, I thought eggnog was the only drink made with eggs…” then you have a lot more to learn about this unique cocktail enhancer.  

The History of Egg Whites in Cocktails

We may never truly know when (or why) the first person cracked an egg into their glass. Still, we do know that the 17th century New Year’s Eve tradition of Wassailing, similar to modern door-to-door Christmas caroling, included a drink of the same name that listed mulled ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, sugar, and eggs in its ingredients.

What we think of today as “modern” cocktails calling for egg began appearing as early as the late 19th century, with the Egg Flip being a popular choice among sailors and tavern-goers. 

Egg whites in cocktails were officially put into the mainstream when bartending-forefather Jerry Thomas published his recipe for the classic whiskey sour in 1862’s bartenders guide How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon Vivant’s Companion

Now that we know eggs have been part of the cocktail arsenal for centuries, let’s learn the proper way to use them in cocktails of our own.

How to Make the Perfect Egg White Cocktail Foam

Those who hate eggs can rest assured that egg white cocktails taste nothing like an egg – all the flavor in an egg comes from the yolk, so using egg whites only adds texture to the drink. 

Egg whites are primarily made of water and protein. When shaken, bubbles form in the egg white, and the proteins stretch out and strengthen the bubbles until a smooth foam forms. To create a perfect foam free from dilution from melting ice, bartenders often use a dry shake that combines all the drink ingredients in a cocktail shaker without the ice. 

When shaken well and strained properly, egg white cocktails have a velvet-like texture similar to lattes that elevate the drink beyond its simple ingredients. 

So, how do you make the perfect egg white cocktail foam? Shake, shake, and shake some more. Take this pisco sour recipe, for example:

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. pisco
  • 1 oz. lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • 1 egg white

Process:

  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with no ice. 
  2. Shake the concoction thoroughly to build foam.
  3. Add ice to the shaker. Lightly shake to chill the drink. 
  4. Serve. 

More Egg White Cocktail Recipes

The Clover Club

The Clover Club cocktail all but disappeared over time but regained popularity in 2008 when Julie Reiner opened a Brooklyn cocktail bar with the same name. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. gin
  • ½ oz. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ½ oz. raspberry syrup 
  • 1 egg white
  • Raspberries for garnish

Process:

  1. Add all ingredients (besides garnish) to a cocktail shaker with no ice. 
  2. Shake thoroughly to build foam. 
  3. Add ice to the shaker. Lightly shake to chill. 
  4. Strain into chilled glass. Garnish with raspberries. 
  5. Serve.

The New Orleans Fizz

This Mardi Gras favorite was so popular in the early 1900s that its inventor, Henry C. Ramos, hired 35 shaker boys for the 1915 celebration but still couldn’t make enough drinks to keep the customers happy. This egg cocktail should be even more thoroughly shaken to the point that a straw stands straight up inside the foam. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ oz. gin
  • 2 oz. cream
  • 1 ¼ oz. simple syrup
  • ½ oz. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ½ oz. lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 dashes fleurs d’orange
  • 1-2 oz. club soda

Process:

  1. Combine all ingredients (besides club soda) in a cocktail shaker with no ice. 
  2. Shake extremely thoroughly. 
  3. Shake it some more. 
  4. Add ice to the shaker and continue to shake. 
  5. Pour into chilled glasses, topped with club soda. 
  6. Serve.

Demitri’s All-Natural Mixers

Still not convinced eggs belong in cocktails? No problem, we’ve got you covered. 

Demitri’s All-Natural Bloody Mary and Margarita mixes help home bartenders like you make their favorite drinks in a flash. Contact us today to learn more.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Bartending 101: Basic Drink Recipes for Beginners

Bartending 101: Basic Drink Recipes for Beginners

What Is a Mixologist and How Do I Become One?

What Is a Mixologist and How Do I Become One?

Bloody Maria: A Tequila Twist on the Classic Bloody Mary

Bloody Maria: A Tequila Twist on the Classic Bloody Mary

The Best Bartending Books for the Beginner Mixologist

The Best Bartending Books for the Beginner Mixologist

Spruce Up Your Summer Patio with These 6 Outdoor Bar Games

Spruce Up Your Summer Patio with These 6 Outdoor Bar Games

The Snit: A Beer Chaser for the Bloody Mary Cocktail

The Snit: A Beer Chaser for the Bloody Mary Cocktail

Bloody Mary Appetizers: A New Way to Consume Your Favorite Drink

Bloody Mary Appetizers: A New Way to Consume Your Favorite Drink