They call it the incredible edible egg. Its drinkability, though, is what’s really beyond belief. Many bar-goers balk at the threat of even a dash of egg white in their cocktail. Some of those very same naysayers could sip on, say, a proper whiskey sour, blissfully unaware that the original recipe calls for a spoonful of the slimy stuff. But unless you’re vegan, there’s nothing to fear here. When properly handled, eggs add nothing more ominous than a thicker mouthfeel. And, bartenders love the textural complexity that eggs bring to the shaker. If you’ve been hesitant to experiment with flips, fizzes or sours, here is some helpful advice on how to crack that shell.
Although the whiskey sour is arguably the most famous egged drink of all time, most modern mixologists prefer to drop the protein around clear spirits. The Ramos Gin Fizz can make an easy convert out of anyone. A relic of late 19th-century New Orleans, it’s a vigorous shaking of gin, citrus, heavy cream and egg white, topped in soda and orange flower water. When prepared properly, a supple layer of foam climbs over the rim, like a freshly-baked soufflé. There are at least two locations where you have a moral obligation to order one: The Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco and the Sazerac Bar in New Orleans, where the recipe calls for an Old Tom Gin base.
Examine the bond between gin and egg white at home by fixing up a Clover Club. This classic tipple traces its roots back to a distinguished mens parlor in pre-Prohibition Philadelphia, where titans of industry were fabled to have fancied its elegant preparation. But you don’t need to be a steel magnate to make this mixture work—just a bottle of good London Dry gin. The zesty fruit notes of Sipsmith work wonderfully here.
-50ml (1.5 oz) Sipsmith London Dry Gin
-10ml (scant .5 oz) lemon juice
-5ml (bar spoon) grenadine or raspberry syrup
-10ml (scant .5 oz) sweet vermouth
-handful of fresh raspberries
-1 egg white
-raspberry to garnish
Dry shake ingredients to emulsify, add ice, shake and served straight up.
Bartender Michael Croom of Esters Wine Shop & Bar in Santa Monica, California adds intrigue to the egg by walking sloe gin into the mix. The classic English blackthorn-infused spirit typically alternates between too sweet or too tart, depending on the producer. We suggest Plymouth Sloe Gin for measured balance. Blood orange and a light spray of absinthe enhance the gin’s complexity in Croom’s frothy Flower Power cocktail.
-.5 oz egg white
-.75 oz blood orange juice
-.5 oz lemon juice
-.5 oz simple syrup
-1.5 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin
Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice except absinthe. Whip, long hard shake, and double strain up in a Nick & Nora glass with an absinthe spritz.
Flower Power / Photo Credit: Esters Wine Shop Bar
Before you start stocking up gin, it turns out that eggs are surprisingly versatile. “I like using Islay-peated scotches like Laphroaig or Ardbeg,” explains barman Mike Raymond of Houston’s great whiskey bar Reserve 101. “The combination of lemon juice, simple and egg white creates a great foundation for complex cocktails.”
Cari Hah of Big Bar in Los Angeles opens it up further still. “Actually, any spirit with egg white works,” she contends. “I always try to have a riff on a Ramos Fizz on my menu. It gives any drink a lovely texture and lift. I’ve done it with gin, whiskey, cachaça, rum and pisco.” For those ready to flex some serious mixological muscle, Hah shares with Distiller an exclusive recipe she calls the Banana Wintour.
-1.5 oz Jack Daniels Rye Whiskey
-0.5 oz Tempus Fugit Creme de Cacao
-0.5 oz Tempus Fugit Creme de banane
-1 oz heavy cream
-0.25 oz dark chocolate syrup
-1 egg white
-3 drops Miracle Mile Redeye Bitters
-Garnish: tiny Vogue magazine cover
Add all ingredients to a shaking tin. Then add ice to pack the entire tin. Shake vigorously until chilled. Strain back into the tin and dump out the used ice. Reseal your tin with no ice and re-shake the already chilled and diluted cocktail very, very enthusiastically. In the bottom of a chilled fizz glass pour about 1 oz of a fresh opened soda water. Add your shaken cocktail on top of the soda water and give it a few taps on the bottom of the glass to help it settle. Next, add some soda water into the tin you just used, pouring down the side of the tin to “wash out” the tin with soda. Then add that soda slowly to the glass until your fizz head peeks above the glass. Finally, add bruleed banana and chocolate syrup on top!
Banana Wintour / Photo Credit: Big Bar
SHE SIMPLY NEVER SHOULD HAVE WORN THAT HAT
And lest tequila feel left out, Avión demonstrates how a beautifully balanced reposado can reveal threads of rich minerality in the presence of a proper protein. She Simply Never Should Have Worn That Hat is a whimsical sendup of a sour, gentle enough to win over even the most vehement of anti-eggers.
1.5oz Avión Reposado
.5oz St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur (or other elderflower liqueur)
.75 Fresh Lemon Juice
.5 Honey Syrup
.5 Grenadine (preferably house-made)
2 Dashes Plum Bitters
1 Egg White
Separate egg, putting only the egg white into a shaker tin. Combine the remaining ingredients with the egg white, and add ice to the tin. Reverse dry shake: Shake with ice (wet shake), strain out the ice, and then shake again without ice (dry shake). Pour directly from the tin WITHOUT straining & serve straight up. Garnish with a brandied cherry and lemon wheel (or edible flower and lemon wheel).
She Simply Never Should Have Worn That Hat / Photo Credit: Avión Tequila
You don’t need to crack too many eggs to make the perfect omelet. Simple experimentation can yield countless rewards if you stay within a basic template: two parts base spirit, one part sweetener, one part citrus juice, one egg. Shake vigorously, and sip before it settles. Incredible, indeed.