Over the last year, I’ve begun to explore the world of alcoholic beverages and how those flavors/techniques can be used in other mediums. I’ve discovered many amazing things while also tasting some pretty bad drinks along the way. But despite all the trial and error, I always seem to come back to one style of drink that in my opinion, drinks like no other. That's egg white-based cocktails!
Egg whites in a cocktail? “Gross!” you may be saying, and my younger self would have agreed with you while turning my nose in the other direction. But over the last year or so, I’ve come to learn that there is a science to how these drinks are made and if not understood, then a bad cocktail is just one shake away.
What are They?
Egg white-based cocktails are as simple as the name implies. These are cocktails that utilize a egg white in them and are almost always shaken. There are a few reasons why you would use a egg white in a cocktail:
- Provide a velvety texture to a cocktail
- Reduce the harshness of the beverage
- Incorporate a stronger smell aspect to the drink (usually enhances the smell of the alcohol used) (best seen in gin cocktails)
- Hold flavor longer on the palate
Now all these additional benefits to the cocktail sound amazing, right? They sure do, but there is a side to these cocktails that can be otherwise off-putting and it all stems from the techniques used when making the cocktail.
How to Mess it Up
Be careful with how strong of alcohol you are using, the higher the %, the higher the chance you will actually cook your eggs. Cook the eggs? Yes. If you check out one of my previous posts about cold cooking techniques, you’ll get some additional knowledge on what I’m referring to. But in short, alcohol functions similarly to acid in cold cooking in which it can denature proteins (unravel them). This same process happens when you heat an egg in a pan.
Though this is not something you typically need to worry about, it can come into play if you attempt to pre-batch this cocktail or even just get preoccupied while making it. Leaving the egg in the alcohol for too long will eventually cook it resulting in that off-putting egg flavor that many people know egg-white cocktails for and why they don’t like them. For this reason, always make your egg-based cocktails to order.
Additionally, egg-based cocktails are intended to be consumed relatively soon after being made. This is because of the previously mentioned statement being exasperated when the foam on these cocktails is created. More surface area is created which can speed up the cooking process denaturing process. Tip: Use the freshest eggs you can source, the firmer the egg white, the fresher the egg. Check out our Culinary Boot Camp to learn more knowledge about egg quality and cookery.
The other way to mess up a drink of this kind is by not shaking it enough.
Shake like your life depends on it!
This is probably the sole reason why people may enjoy this cocktail but will never make one themselves. In most cases, egg white-based cocktails must be shaken for 30 seconds or more in two separate stages. Talk about a workout! The reason for this is to form a version of a meringue in the shaker. This meringue-like foam is what provides the drink with its altered texture and enhanced aromatics. There are two stages to the shaking process:
Dry Shaking - This involves shaking the content of the drink without ice to incorporate as much air as possible into the mixture, using the egg white to trap the air bubbles to create a foam (meringue).
Wet Shaking - This involves shaking the contents of the drink with ice to chill the drink and also incorporate some water to mellow out the alcohol and make the drink smoother.
The order in which you execute these two stages is not really important, I find wet shaking and then dry shaking result in a better product personally. I will also remove the spring from my strainer and toss it in during the dry shake to get more air bubbles in and reduce my shaking time (a little pro tip there to save you from sweating).
The Final Touches
Now that the drink has been shaken twice and strained between shakes, you should be golden. Pour it into a glass with a wide mouth and watch as a thick foam slowly transforms into a distinct liquid base and a hefty foam cap. Take a sip, and you’ll find yourself in heaven when it comes to texture and aroma.
As I mention in my chef profile, eggs to me are an ingredient that I can’t live without in my kitchen because they are so versatile in savory or sweet food, as well as a variety of beverages.
Below I’ve included a mad creation that I recently came up with utilizing egg whites in a cocktail. The idea stemmed from all the fruity flavors you typical will find in alcohol as flavor enhancers. I thought, what from my childhood would encompass all these flavors? As I sat there thinking, it hit me! Fruity Pebbles breakfast cereal is a mash-up of many different fruit flavors. This is what I wanted to emulate in a cocktail. So I started tinkering with different liquors and landed on something that tasted like fruity pebbles, but didn’t have the texture of a bowl of milk. So I decided to utilize the frothy smooth texture of egg white cocktails to achieve that last missing aspect to round everything out.
Pebbles of Fruit Cocktail
1 fl. oz Vodka
.5 fl. oz Midori (melon liquor)
.5 fl. oz Chambord (raspberry liquor)
.5 fl. oz Cointreau (orange liquor)
.5 fl. oz Simple Syrup
.5 fl. oz Grenadine (pomegranate syrup)
1 egg white
1 ice cube
1.5 fl. ounces citrus soda (i.e. Fresca)
1 pinch Fruity Pebbles cereal
1. Shake everything together except the ice cube and citrus soda for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
2. Strain content into a new shaker filled with ice with strainer spring added into shaker now. Shake for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
3. Strain into a 10oz rocks glass over 1 large ice cube.
4. Slowly pour citrus soda into the center of the cup until it is full.
5. Garnish with some fruity pebbles and enjoy.
This cocktail embodies a bowl of fruity pebbles in a cup. It's perfect as a breakfast cocktail to replace your mimosa or even the whole breakfast for that matter!
If you’re interested in more breakfast creations, check out our Hands-On Holiday Brunch class on Saturday, December 31 at 11am at Lincoln Square. Additionally, if you want to explore more cocktails, check out our Virtual Epic Holiday Cocktails class on Friday, December 23 at 4:45pm CST that you can take from the comfort of your own home.