Why Egg Whites and How to Make Egg White Cocktails

Why Egg Whites and How to Make Egg White Cocktails

Egg white cocktails have withstood the test of time. The first recipes for these smooth and sour drinks date to the 19th century but didn’t become popular until Prohibition. Commonly added to sours to smooth out the tart citrus notes, you’ll find eggs in flip and fizz cocktail recipes, as well.

The science is clear. Egg whites are a relatively tasteless high-protein ingredient. Shaken into a meringue-like consistency, the protein traps air in the drink, imparting a silky texture without changing its flavor. When made correctly, you won’t taste the egg in a cocktail. Instead, you’ll feel the velvety texture of the beverage.

The frothy top and smooth finish of the beaten egg white is best in citrus cocktails, which is why you often see this ingredient in sours. The best way to achieve the cloud-like foam is a method called “dry shaking” which simply shakes the egg white with other ingredients without ice, often followed by a brief shake with ice to chill the mixture. Fine straining, or double straining, further aerates the mixture for an even fluffier cloud-like finish. Making egg white cocktails requires some skill, but with a little patience, home bartenders can easily make these 7 egg white cocktail recipes. 

Substitutes For Egg Whites

Egg White Cocktails
Photo by @Kondor83

It’s best to use fresh eggs for the foamiest egg white cocktails. While there is some risk of salmonella when drinking egg white cocktails, it is very rare. Modern methods have made the chance of salmonella from eggs about 1 in 20,000, and the risk is lowered with the addition of bacteria-killing alcohol, and often using sterilizing citrus juices. If you’re concerned or in a higher risk category, pasteurized egg whites can be substituted, but they won’t yield quite as luscious results.

There are other options that don’t include eggs. Aquafaba, or chickpea water, is a high-protein vegan variation that also traps lots of air. Milk powder is another substitute with easy cleanup that adds a creamy, frothy texture to sours. Use whole milk powder, not a chalky protein supplement, for the best results.

1. Bee Sting

Bee Sting Fernet-Branca Cocktail
Photo by @bhofack2

Smoky, sweet, and rich, the Bee Sting Cocktail is an intriguing blend of ingredients, smoothed out by the addition of a silky meringue. The original recipe dates to the 18th century. Today, the recipe is a delightful mix of honey liqueur, single malt Scotch, Fernet-Branca, tangerine juice, Peychaud’s bitters, and egg white.

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2. Millionaire Cocktail

Millionaire Cocktail
Photo by @blakewisz

While there are many drinks that claim the name of Millionaire, this version is the first recorded recipe. The whiskey-based concoction dates back to 1923 London and calls for rye, orange liqueur, grenadine, lemon juice, absinthe, and an egg white. It’s reminiscent of a whiskey sour but rounded out with complex aniseed and smooth foaminess.

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3. Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour Cocktail
Photo by @weareambitious

The Whiskey Sour is one of the original egg white cocktails dating back to the 1860s. Made with bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup, it has warming vanilla and tart citrus notes for a refreshing cocktail that’s withstood the test of time.

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4. White Dragon

White Dragon Cocktail
Photo by @Ahtzirilagarde

While the ingredients of the White Dragon are reminiscent of a margarita, the result is much more similar to the White Lady cocktail. The mix of blanco tequila, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and egg white (or aquafaba) is sour, with the silky texture removing the need for a sweetener.

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5. Smoke Show

Smoke Show Cocktail
Photo by @Bhofack2

Bittersweet yet tart and aromatic at the same time, the Smoke Show is a unique egg white cocktail made from mezcal, Cynar, lime juice, and simple syrup. The frothy egg white connects all the ingredients for a smooth and unforgettable cocktail.

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6. White Lady

White Lady Cocktail
Photo by @Aliphotos_86

In some ways, like a sour, but also very different, the White Lady is a century-old beverage that’s botanical, tart, and smooth all at the same time. Made with gin, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and egg white, it’s inspired other cocktails like the White Dragon.

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7. Ramos Gin Fizz

Ramos Gin Fizz With Gin Simple Syrup Lime Juice Lemon Juice Egg White Soda Water Cream Shaken Cocktail
Photo by @Daniel Viero

The Ramos Gin Fizz combines the sultry mouthfeel of egg white with fizzy soda water for a cloud-like cocktail. Made from gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, lime juice, cream, egg white, and soda water, it’s a flip and fizz cocktail that is bright, smooth, and vibrant all at once.

View the recipe

View the complete collection of egg white cocktails here.

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