I would prefer it without the egg — it’s a commonly heard customer preference at a patisserie or a bakery. But imagine someone saying the same while asking for a Long Island Iced Tea. Eggs in an LIIT? You heard that right.
Cocktails have had a long history of evolution — the first piece of literature on cocktails was published in 1862. It was titled How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant’s Companion, by Jerry Thomas and is considered the Escoiffer in the world of cocktails. However, the use of eggs in drinks goes back to the time when the term ‘cocktail’ was still not in existence. The humble ‘eggnog’, that dates back to the 1760s would have never imagined that it would one day be an intrinsic part of cocktails — a category with classics like fizzes, flips and pickups (a rarity in the cocktail menus of today).
Any good bartender will tell you how egg white, when added to a cocktail, gives it a nice, rich and creamy texture while creating a light foamy “head” —a feather in the cap. Sometimes it is the simple that creates the marvellous. When we added egg white to our LIITs, we could instantly feel the difference. It elevates the drink’s texture, taste and look. We also serve a variation of the Whisky Sour, a 146-year version with the egg white, we call it the Smoked Whisky Sour. It’s a delicate balance of Woodford Reserve Bourbon whisky, green apple juice, kafir lime, egg white with aromatic bitters smoked with cocoa powder, old school smoking and not with fancy technology, keeping the soul of the drink as pure as its humble origins.
Much has been written about using egg proteins in cocktails — the “dry shake” that emulsifies the egg in egg white drinks, an old bartending technique. A common concern is that raw egg maybe dangerous and even lead to salmonella poisoning, but fact remains that a clean, fresh egg, stored properly and used with care will only create something beautiful to taste.
In the dynamic ever changing world of food and beverages, the evolution of cocktails will continue. But as we warm up to more variants, let’s not forget the old classics like the Clover Club, Pisco Sour, Coffee Cocktail, White Lady and continue to have them — maybe with an egg foam, dehydrated or maybe even a vapourised egg in the days to come, who knows!