Don’t let yourself get egged on by fear of fizzes and flips


I don’t cook. The extent of my culinary prowess is a double-decker quesadilla made with a Target-bought comal. But I do make cocktails. When I took on the job of writing about beer, wine and spirits at the end of last year, I wanted to attempt just about everything, from making simple syrup to twisting orange peels into (rather dubious-looking) garnishes.

There was one ingredient I’ve shied away from, however, maybe because it blurs the line between cooking and making cocktails more than any other ingredient. And how you incorporate it into the flips, sours and fizzes that it helps define is baffling.

I’m talking about eggs.

Once you figure out whether you want the egg white or the yolk, how do you get them separated? And at which stage of the cocktail-making process do you add one in? What’s the purpose of the egg, anyway?

Freedmen’s Bar and Smokehouse in the University of Texas area makes sure to have at least one cocktail with egg whites on every seasonal menu. Plus, the rustic-yet-refined barbecue spot doesn’t substitute egg whites for sour mix, a common practice nowadays when making, say, a whiskey sour. So Freedmen’s bar manager Harrison Arth seemed like a pretty good source to help me get over my fear.

He nodded right away when I said I was hesitant about using eggs — but he thought my uneasiness was for a different reason. “The idea of drinking raw egg always makes people a little squeamish,” he said. “But they’re very safe. There’s little threat of salmonella.” (People with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk of infections, and anytime you consume raw eggs, you are at risk of contracting salmonella. This is true whether you’re eating a runny egg at breakfast or sneaking a bite of unbaked cookie dough.)

Foods like mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce and meringue all ask for uncooked eggs, so why is it that we’ve become so against using them in drinks? Either we find a way to switch them out for another ingredient, like the sour mix in whiskey sours, or we forego that sort of cocktail altogether. Many types of classic sours, fizzes and flips are slowly making a comeback after falling out of fashion, victims of modern health standards urging us to stay away from certain raw foods.

“Egg use has been lost over time, but it’s coming back,” Arth said. “Someone a couple days ago was so tickled when we made them a whiskey sour with egg whites. That was something they hadn’t had in awhile.”

Egg whites were used in the first place, in sours and fizzes, because they add texture, he said, a soft frothy foam atop the cocktail — think cappuccinos or nitro beers. Those have that same creamy head, and their mouthfeel is part of their appeal.

Freedmen’s current seasonal egg white cocktail is the Deviled Advocate, a “deconstructed deviled egg” with Hendrick’s gin, lemon, dill syrup, celery bitters, paprika and, of course, an egg white. The pearly foam teased my lips with minuscule bubbles, and a savory sip went down in one smooth wave.

To get just the right consistency and “not a glob of chunkiness,” Arth offered a few tips to keep in mind when preparing my own drink with egg whites, whether it’s as easy as a whiskey sour or a little more complex like the Deviled Advocate.

  • Always add the egg white last when mixing ingredients together, because the alcohol and the acidity of citrus will cook the egg white and give an unwanted texture to the drink.
  • To separate the egg white from the yolk, he recommends using an egg strainer, which you can find at most kitchen supply stores. Place the strainer over a cocktail shaker; then, discard the remaining yolk.
  • Another must is to dry shake first (without ice). “It’s the same concept as beating the yolk before cooking,” Arth said. Shake again with ice — and keep shaking. That will help get you the frothy head you want and keep the ingredients from separating too much.
  • The bigger the ice cubes, the better the froth.

 

And if the idea of using raw eggs still makes you nervous, you can always substitute them with pasteurized or powdered egg whites. After one taste of the Deviled Advocate, however, you won’t want to — a freshly cracked egg adds something special to the chemistry of the cocktail.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Austin360 Eats

Austin360 On The Record: Western Youth, Jaimee Harris, Will Courtney, more
Austin360 On The Record: Western Youth, Jaimee Harris, Will Courtney, more

Western Youth. Contributed/Letitia Smith OUT THIS WEEK Western Youth, self-titled. With the recent addition of well-traveled Austin troubadour Graham Weber to their lineup, the roots-rock band formed in 2012 by singer-guitarists Taylor Williams and Matt Gregg plus drummer Brian Bowe has reached another level. Weber, Williams and ...
Home Slice Pizza North Loop now open Tuesdays; online ordering available at both locations
Home Slice Pizza North Loop now open Tuesdays; online ordering available at both locations

There was a unique frustration when I lived in Rome. You’d get excited about going to lunch, only to arrive and realize that the restaurant was  chiuso per giorno di riposo. Closed for a day of rest. I remember it happening a lot on Tuesdays and also on Sundays, obviously. In the always-open United ...
Uchi opening its first location outside of Texas in October
Uchi opening its first location outside of Texas in October

One of the standard bearers of refined dining in Austin and throughout Texas has its eyes set beyond the Lone Star State. After opening locations in Dallas and Houston, Hai Hospitality is set to open Uchi Denver on October 4. The restaurant will be located on the corner...
The best pepperoni pizzas in Austin
The best pepperoni pizzas in Austin

It’s another fake food holiday; I mean, really, #NationalPepperoniPizza day? Well, whatever. It is one of my favorite pizza orders, though I sometimes get creative. A pizza from Home Slice Pizza with a red bell pepper heart design. Tom McCarthy Jr. FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN In the spirit of this day of national recognition, here are...
Cedar Door owners opening Italian-Southern restaurant downtown Friday
Cedar Door owners opening Italian-Southern restaurant downtown Friday

Two of the most popular dining trends over the past several years in Austin have been Southern and Italian cuisines. Soon you can get a taste of both under one roof. Longtime Cedar Door owners Steve and Heather Potts will open La Volpe Friday at 201 Brazos St. B, next door to their downtown...
More Stories