Put an egg on it: old school Whiskey Sour with Egg White

by Terry B on May 3, 2017

The classic whiskey sour cocktail has many variations. This one includes an egg white for a frothy head and a velvety mouthfeel. Recipe below.

Whisky Sour with an Egg White

For a couple of wine lovers, Marion and I have been totally smitten by the craft cocktail scene that, happily, just doesn’t seem to quit. In countless bars and restaurants, we’ve puzzled over cryptic descriptions of inventively named drinks with housemade bitters, small batch spirits and surprising botanicals; challenged willing bartenders to create something using a particular liquor and hitting vaguely described flavor notes; and enjoyed the theatrics of the process—at Curio in Columbus, Ohio, a bartender flexed an orange peel and ignited the oil spraying from the skin. But old school drinks persist for a reason: sometimes you just want a drink. Not a shot and a beer, but something classic without being overthought—something a good bartender makes from muscle memory.

What got me thinking about this was a recent article on VinePair, a website that believes in “covering drinking in a thought provoking way.” They asked seven bartenders to name the most underrated cocktail. A lot of the usual suspects were there—Daiquiris, Negronis, Margaritas… But what caught my eye was a Whiskey Sour made with an egg white.

In our ongoing cocktail adventures, Marion and I have come to take egg whites as shorthand for frothy, foamy drinks with a velvety mouthfeel. It doesn’t add flavor to a drink, it just adds luxe. As I did my research on whiskey sours, recipes seemed divided on egg whites or not—and even those including egg whites tended to say they were optional. They were divided over serving them over ice in rocks glasses or in chilled coupes or short-stemmed sour glasses. They were also divided over whiskey quality. Some said use the best stuff. Some said use the cheap stuff. And although it’s called a whiskey sour, everyone said to use bourbon. I used Traverse City Whiskey Co’s. “straight bourbon whiskey” from Michigan.

For this version, I went with a rocks glass and ice. I also went with the egg white. And the only reason I’ll say it’s optional is I don’t want to hear anyone’s stories about salmonella.

Whiskey Sour
Makes 1 cocktail

2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup (see recipe below)
1 egg white (optional, he said reluctantly)
fresh orange and Maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake cocktail shaker vigorously for 45 seconds (this will help the egg white get nice and foamy). Pour over ice in a rocks glass or into a chilled coupe. Add garnish and serve.

Simple syrup. This stuff lives up to its name. Combine equal amounts sugar and water in a sauce pan (I did 3/4 cup each and produced 1 cup of simple syrup). Heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is completely dissolved. You don’t even have to boil it. Done. Let it cool completely before using. Tightly sealed, it should keep for a month in your refrigerator. But it’s used in so many cocktails, it won’t be around that long.

Want more classic cocktail ideas? Here’s that VinePair article.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

John/Kitchen Riffs May 3, 2017 at 8:24 am

This is such a good drink! We often used pasteurized eggs when making cocktails because of that salmonella stuff. Dried egg whites also work, although I don’t think the mouthfeel is quite as good (velvety). Good garnish on yours! And definitely bourbon all the way, although I think rye is a nice change from time to time.

Julie May 3, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Sounds delightful–thanks for the suggestion!

Anita June 7, 2017 at 6:20 pm

I have used your hints on how to order a cocktail several times now… always with marvelous results. Thank you, thank you!

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