Whiskey Sour Cocktail

Whiskey Sour Cocktail

The whiskey sour cocktail is an ideal drink to highlight the effect of egg whites in a drink. The ingredients are cheap, so you may as well make it both ways and see the impact.  This is exactly the experiment that Dave Arnold explains in Liquid Intelligence, and I did for myself.  For me, the difference is really pronounced; I’m not sure I realized how much egg whites can change a drink until I tried it both ways.  The version with egg white not only has the obvious silky texture from the white, it is far less oaked in flavor and you can’t taste the alcohol as much.  Why is this?  Because eggs bind to the impurities in the liquor and somehow neutralize their effect on your taste buds. It’s the same reason egg whites were used for centuries to filter red wine, or why egg white “rafts” can be used to clarify stock into consommé; egg whites will bond to stuff on a molecular level.

Whiskey Sour Review

I admit I was a little disappointed in myself with this drink; the egg white cocktail is my own personal white whale and I didn’t quite get the height and texture I wanted on this one. I blame myself and not the recipe.  I admit I don’t know the secret if there is one to getting a good foam head from an egg white drink.  Sometimes they seem to foam up nicely and it feels magical, other times they don’t and it’s a huge bummer, despite what appears to be the same technique of dry shaking first, then shaking with ice to chill.  Drinks that are sweeter tend to do better, as do drinks that add soda at the end, which seems to “lift” the foam to the top of the drink.  I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to produce inconsistent results, but there you have it.  If anyone has tips on how to get a good foam head in a whiskey sour I’m all ears!

The egg white still removes a lot of the tannic elements from the whiskey though, and you wind up with a smooth, velvety texture.  It’s a solid drink; you taste the bourbon, you taste the bitters and it’s pretty to look at too, it’s just on the simple side.  As a go to drink when you don’t have a lot of time or you don’t have a space or budget to keep a lot of ingredients on hand, the whiskey sour cocktail is a crowd pleaser option but won’t knock your socks off either.

Rating: 4 / 5

Whiskey Sour Cocktail

(adapted from Death & Co.)

  • 2 oz Bourbon (Buffalo Trace)
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 Egg White

Dry shake all the ingredients to foam up the egg white, then shake again with ice to chill and dilute.  Double strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.  Add a dash of Angostura bitters on top and garnish with an orange and cherry flag.

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