Why is there an egg white in a whiskey sour?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

The addition of egg white in a whiskey sour is not just for show, but it actually serves a purpose in enhancing the overall texture and flavor of the cocktail. The egg white adds a velvety smoothness and a rich creaminess to the drink, creating a luxurious mouthfeel that is hard to achieve with other ingredients.

When you shake a cocktail with egg white, it creates a frothy foam on top, known as a “head.” This foam not only looks visually appealing but also adds a nice touch to the presentation of the drink. It gives the whiskey sour a professional and sophisticated appearance that is often associated with classic cocktails.

But beyond aesthetics, the egg white plays a crucial role in balancing the flavors of the cocktail. The protein in egg white acts as an emulsifier, binding together the ingredients and creating a harmonious blend. It helps mellow out the sharpness of the whiskey and the acidity of the citrus, creating a more well-rounded and balanced flavor profile.

Additionally, the egg white adds a subtle sweetness to the whiskey sour. The proteins in the egg white can help counterbalance any tartness or bitterness from the lemon juice, making the cocktail more enjoyable to drink. It adds a touch of complexity to the overall taste, elevating the flavors to new heights.

Now, you might be wondering about the safety of consuming raw egg whites in a cocktail. While there is a small risk of foodborne illness from consuming raw eggs, it is relatively low, especially if you use fresh and high-quality eggs. However, if you are concerned about potential risks, you can use pasteurized egg whites or egg white alternatives, such as aquafaba (chickpea brine), which can also create a similar foam and texture.

The addition of egg white in a whiskey sour goes beyond mere aesthetics. It adds a luscious texture, a creamy mouthfeel, and a balanced flavor to the cocktail. The frothy foam on top adds a touch of elegance, making the drink visually appealing. So, the next time you enjoy a whiskey sour with that velvety smoothness and creamy foam, you can appreciate the role of the humble egg white in elevating your cocktail experience.