There has been one ingredient that has almost been forgotten as a cocktail ingredient: egg whites. Yes… in raw form. I was re-introduced to the egg white as a cocktail ingredient in Peru.
Pisco sours are the national drink there and every single one of them, if made correctly, is shaken together with a raw egg white.
Needless to say that I drank more than a few of them while I was there and have been experimenting with egg whites in cocktails for the last few weeks. I thought it would be fun to write a post on how to use them and give you guys a few recipes to try out if you are feeling ambitious!
1) For any of the cocktails, add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with lots of ice.
2) Shake vigorously for 20 seconds.
3) Strain into chilled glass, garnish, and serve.
Egg White Safety
There is a ton of information about eating raw egg whites out there. It’s commonly known that eggs can contain Salmonella so eating them raw could pose a risk, especially for the young, old, or people with weakened immune systems.
My take on the situation is that there are lots of ways you can get food sickness and the likelihood of getting sick from eggs is very small. Of course, the FDA will tell you to never eat them and play it safe, but the truth is that your risk is very low.
Most estimates say that in the United States roughly 1 in 20,000 eggs contains some trace of Salmonella. That means that for most consumers you might encounter a bad egg every 84 years. For more info on eggs, check out this FAQ.
Some tips to really reduce chances of any sort of sickness include:
- Buy the freshest, best eggs you can find. Fresh eggs are less likely to contain enough bacteria to cause a problem. Buying local eggs tends to mean fresher eggs, but there is no study that I could find that says local or farm raised eggs have a lower chance of infection. I buy them though anyway.
- Keep the eggs cold which inhibits bacteria growth.
- Don’t use any eggs that are cracked or leaking.
The Cocktail Method
It might seem weird to think of egg whites in a drink, but the thing that makes egg whites the perfect drink ingredient is what happens to them when you beat them like crazy.
After just a minute of vigorous beating…
You’ll end up with a very light and fluffy meringue. This has a ton of applications in the cooking world, but in a cocktail it makes the drink really light, fluffy, and wonderful.
It’s similar to what steamed milk does to coffee.
The key when you’re adding the egg white to any of the below cocktails is to separate it from the yolk (you can just strain it through your fingers carefully).
Then add it to a cocktail shaker with the other ingredients and a lot of ice. Then shake it like crazy for at least twenty seconds. Really go to town on it.
Then you just strain it into your glass of choice.
Now let’s make some drinks!
The Clover Club
I picked three cocktails that use different spirits, but in general gin is the most popular spirit to use with egg whites. This is a twist on a classic gin fizz that is a bit sweeter due to a small amount of cherry syrup (or grenadine).
Shake it all together and strain it into a chilled martini glass.
Ask your local bartender for this and they most likely won’t be able to make it for you!
The Pisco Sour
Again, this is the cocktail that got me thinking again about egg whites in cocktails. It’s THE classic Peru cocktail and there are a million variations on it.
This is the most basic variation though.
A small dash of cinnamon on top of the drink really brings out the flavors.
It’s simple, but packs a punch.
The Bourbon Flip
This was honestly my favorite of the three cocktails that I tried.
It was almost like egg nog which makes it perfect for the upcoming holidays!
Again, just shake everything together like crazy and strain it into a chilled glass.
Sprinkle with some freshly grated nutmeg and it’s basically dessert in a glass.
Of course, you try all of these at your own risk, but you better believe I’ll be trying them frequently.
Have any of you tried egg whites in drinks or is it too much for you? Leave a comment!