There’s a reason why egg whites are a very effective ingredient in many recipes. As your mind begins to travel to thoughts of creating soft peaks in a mixing bowl for your meringues and macarons, I implore you to steer those thoughts to your drinking glass. Cocktails that consist of egg whites are not a new concept but actually a traditional practice for very classic drinks. Egg white cocktails have since evolved from the classic Pisco Sours and Ramos Fizzes into a renaissance of concoctions that leave their mark on your drinking palate.
While the taste of these drinks relies on its other ingredients, the selling point of the egg white cocktail is its contribution of distinct texture. This alone, in my young experience, is a characteristic that can’t be replicated by anything else by giving its partner ingredients a nurturing advantage. Egg whites provide a light, airy froth that, at first, look like a thick mass of shaken milk and eventually settles out. The result is a dense separation of drink to froth with a bubbly silk consistency.
Drinks consisting of egg whites must be shaken for 2-3 times longer than regular drinks to ensure that the main proteins loosen to mix and bind safely with their other ingredients. You will see many bartenders shake these drinks in steps known as the “mime” technique in which the ingredients (including the eggs) are shaken in a cocktail shaker without ice. This allows the egg whites to inhale the air and its counterparts much like in baking. The second stage adds in the ice and is shaken again with a bit more force and for a longer period of time. The result is a comforting presentation of a small layer of foam that tops the drink similar to the feeling of seeing a creamy topping of meringue on a chocolate cream pie. Savor the drink as much as you can, but be wary of how long you’re milking it… egg whites tend to dry a drink out faster!
I had the pleasure of stopping over to Bar Pleiades to taste some of their egg drink choices (which were plentiful might I add). Pictured below is the Picon Pouffle that consists of Amer Picon [bitters], Buffalo Trace [bourbon], housemade grenadine, fresh lemon and an egg white.
20 East 76th Street (between Madison and Fifth Aves.)
Photo credit: Mia O’Malley Photography