EGGS IN COCKTAILS
A super brief history.
Raw eggs have been used as a cocktail ingredient for well over 100 years. It dates back to the 17th century when the English were making punches with warm ale or mulled wine, nutmeg, sugar and eggs.
The whiskey sour was created around one hundred years later in the mid 1800s and, a few decades later, an egg white was incorporated into the cocktail’s recipe. So the use of egg whites in mixed drinks have been around for a very long time (back before refrigeration was available to keep the eggs fresher).
WHY USE EGGS IN COCKTAILS?
Eggs create a velvety texture to a drink and impart a rich mouthfeel. When added in small amounts ie. 15mL per drink, a fresh egg white won’t impart an eggy taste. A good comparison is meringue which, despite utilising many raw egg whites, still doesn’t taste eggy.
The egg yolk is a little different though as it will create an eggnog-like flavour when mixed in a cocktail.
Eggs also help to create a thick foam on the top of the drink. The egg’s proteins are responsible for this – if you are interested in the science behind it, you can read a little more detail on Serious Eats. This thick foam is aesthetically pleasing and can be used to suspend garnishes or making patterns with aromatic cocktail bitters.
Eggs can carry salmonella bacteria so their are a few precautions you will need to take:
- Use clean, fresh eggs (and know where they are sourced from)
- Ensure they are unbroken
- Keep them refrigerated
RAW EGG ALTERNATIVES
If you are still wary about utilising raw eggs in cocktails you can use one of the options below.
- Pasteurised eggs (heat treated to kill the bacteria)
- Powdered eggs (needs reconstituting
- Aquafaba (chickpea juice) *Recommended
I ran a simple test to compare the taste, aroma and foam retention of egg whites vs aquafaba with surprising results!