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09.16.10 by  

Egg Whites: Not Just for the Morning After.

Whether it’s a casual night in or a swanked-out affair, cracking an egg into your shaker will create an array of super-chic frothy sippers. Beware: Your digs will become the most-sought-after drink den on the block.

Siebert's signature A.P.A. isn't all looks, no substance. It's got major flavor thanks to fresh juices and ginger liqueur.

There’s more than one way to create a buzz at the bar (sorry, we’ve been waiting to use this pun for weeks). Village Whiskey’s Barman Stephen Seibert is doing it by cracking raw eggs into cocktails in a total throwback to the 1600s. What’s not to love about a 400-year-old technique that still gets oohs and aahs for presentation. They’re perfect for cozy dinner parties when you’ve got time to shake and tell the story about what you’re concocting. Here’s Seibert’s 411:

we’re seeing egg-whites pop up in cocktails at bars across the country.
Stephen Siebert: There’s definitely a return to tradition in cocktail making. The first reported cocktails shaken with egg white go back to pre-colonial times in the 1690s. In 1862, when Jerry Thomas published the first cocktail book, The Bar-Tender’s Guide, an entire section was dedicated to flips and fizzes using egg whites.

that’s pretty good staying power.
The magic of the egg cocktail is the creaminess, texture and froth. The egg really softens the edges and rounds out the drink, bringing all the ingredients together. There’s also technique for shaking them successfully. The first is a longer shake that requires larger-size, chunky ice cubes, then you put all ingredients in the mixer and shake for a minute or so. Alternately, you can try a double shake where you start with a “dry shake” that doesn’t use ice, shaking vigorously for about 15 to 20 seconds to start the frothiness, then add ice to the second shake to bring down the temperature and dilute the cocktail. Another tip for getting a good froth worked up is to take the coil off your Hawthorne strainer, put that in with the dry shake — it would speed up the process.

what do you say to the salmonella skeptics?
There’s been a lot of research done on raw egg safety and the risk factor is miniscule. A fresh, clean egg coupled with alcohol and citrus is really a non-issue. People shouldn’t live in fear of something that’s going to reward them.

they can actually do the opposite and get creative.
Just take an egg and start playing. I haven’t come across anything that doesn’t work well with egg whites. It’s all about experimentation and being free. When we created the Volver, a gunpowder green tea-infused tangerine gimlet, we wanted to meld all the ingredients together — it worked using egg white. The brightness of lemon and lime juice also work really well with egg whites. It’s about the balance of flavors, as long as you practice good methodology, you’ll produce a nice creamy head.

that head makes a gorgeous canvas for garnishes.
Bar chefs try and use the same principles as culinary experts — we never garnish with something unnecessary. You want to stimulate something appealing not only to the eye and taste, but also with aroma. Bitters are integral in a Pisco Sour. You could even cut citrus wide and flat, make sure there’s no white pith, and squeeze the essential oils from the peel on to the egg white foam and then place the peel on top, it’s light enough to sit right on top. As you lift the cocktail to the nose, you have that great smell and look.

we love torching our garnishes, could that work?
Cocktails change tremendously as they sit, so if you’ve got a slow cocktail drinker, after 15 minutes as it starts to warm you may get an aroma of egg white.  Toasting citrus oils or garnishing with bitters could probably help push that element back a bit.

served up or on the rocks?
I prefer to do egg cocktails up as far as drinking. With all the texture and body, I wouldn’t want an ice cube interfering.

A.P.A.

  • 1 1/2 ounces Cascade hop-infused Skyy vodka*
  • 3/4 ounce fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
  • 1 small fresh egg white
  1. Crack egg and add white to mixing glass.
  2. Add all ingredients and dry shake (without ice) vigorously 20 to 30 seconds.
  3. Fill mixing glass with ice and shake vigorously a second time.
  4. Strain into 7-ounce martini glass.

*Cascade infusion: Break apart one half of one Cascade hop flower plug (1/3 ounce) and add one 750 ml bottle of Skyy vodka. Cover and shake every 10 minutes for one hour at 72 degrees. Strain contents through coffee filter to remove solids. Hop plugs are readily available at any homebrew supply shop.

Sub in bourbon for gin for a more spicy sip.

Volver

  • 1 2/2 ounces gunpowder  green tea-infused Tanqueray Rangpur gin*
  • 1 ounce fresh squeezed tangerine juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 small fresh egg white
  • 1 wide lime twist
  1. Crack egg and add white to mixing glass.
  2. Add all ingredients and dry shake (without ice) vigorously 20-30 seconds.
  3. Fill mixing glass with ice and shake vigorously a second time.
  4. Strain into 7-ounce martini glass.
  5. Squeeze lime twist over cocktail to release oils and set on top of cocktail.

*Gunpowder green tea-infusion: Add 2 ounces gunpowder green tea to 1 bottle Tanqueray Rangpur gin. Cover and shake every 10 minutes for 1 1/2 hours. Taste every 15 minutes. Infusion is to preference however dependent on tannic quality of the brand of tea. The process fluctuates between 2 and 2 1/4 hours at 72 degrees on average.