Today’s treat is a Whiskey Sour. While I will get to the nitty gritty of this cocktail in a minute, I thought I should warm you that I’m going to be using this blog to explore the use of egg whites in cocktails.

Did you just say “yick!”?

Yeah, me too. Why bring this up? Well, when I was researching the perfect whiskey sour, it became clear that there are two camps – those who add egg whites to the drink, and those who don’t. Having never had a cocktail with egg white in it, I thought I had to investigate.

I quick buzz through the internet teaches me that it’s all about mouth feel. Egg whites are used to create a creamy and foamy texture to a drink. From the Art of the Drink:

Now …we can get down to why eggs, and egg whites particularly, help make a great cocktail. The main protein (ovalbumin), in eggs, is a tightly wound molecule and when it is shaken or beaten, it unravels. Think of shaking a big box full of slinkies and then trying to sort them out. That box will probably remain a stable mess for a while. When this happens in a cocktail shaker, the egg proteins do the same thing, they get all tangled up and this forms bubbles and foam.

Many of the drinks that use egg whites tend to be acidic, like sours, because the acid in the drink stabilizes the egg protein. This inhibits the proteins them from binding with each other, which makes for smaller bubbles and a better foam…Egg whites also don’t contribute much, if any, flavour to the cocktail.

Obviously – any use of raw eggs carries with it a risk, likely small, of salmonella. Since we’ve all been naughty and snuck raw cookie dough, I think we’ve all come to grips with this level of risk. But keep this in mind if you’re using egg whites – fresh well-handled eggs will be best!

So *how* do you used egg whites? I found this nifty little video tutorial for you! This is well worth the 50 seconds it takes to watch!

By the way, if you’re looking to experiment with eggs in cocktails, look for cocktails with “golden” or “silver” in the title: In classic cocktail terminology, “golden” appended to the name of a cocktail (as in “Golden Bronx”) often indicates the additional presence of egg yolk; “silver” (as in “Silver Bronx”) requests the additional presence of egg white in recipes otherwise without egg.

So: back to today’s task at hand, the whiskey sour. I made mine without egg whites (as I don’t eat eggs), in the following proportions:

  • 3 parts Bourbon whiskey
  • 2 parts fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part simply syrup

Shake with ice. Strain into ice-filled old-fashioned glass to serve “on the rocks.” Garnish with a cherry and a slice of orange.

The result was refreshing and surprisingly not too overpoweringly boozy. I would definitely serve this as a cocktail at a dinner party.

Just a note- if you order a whisky sour in a bar, 1/2 the time you’ll get it made with that green sour bartenders mix. This is NOT supposed to be what a whiskey sour is… send it back!