For the uninformed, egg whites are one of the major ingredients in cocktails especially in sours where it is almost a must have (bar the daiquiri). So when a drink’s name has the word sour in inside for e.g. whiskey sour, it is almost definitely required.
Egg white when added to the shaken cocktail gives the cocktail this foamy head and actually blends the taste profiles of the ingredients together. A simple test would be to make two southsides (gin, lemon, simple syrup and mint), one without and one with eggwhite.
Taste! How does the one with egg white taste in comparison with the one without.
This is not to say egg white muddles up the flavours but be clear as to what kind of profile and experience you would like to present to your customer.
From tending the bar for a few years, I have had customers request not to add in egg whites upon hearing about the ingredient list for their cocktail. Some do not fancy a liquid omelette and some are genuinely unable to take this due to allergies. Although many do come round to the fact that it actually elevates the cocktail, it is still good practice to check with the customers’ for any allergies such as egg whites before preparing their drink.
A last point to note, I do have a pet peeve as egg white is now being widely used as an ingredient not because it is there to take the harshness of the cocktail but to create this ridiculously thick layer of foam for some over the top garnishes. Some work, but many fall flat as the mouthfeel of the cocktail becomes cloying due to excessive egg white and the flavours are not clean enough. It becomes complicated, not interestingly complex which is what we all strive for. So in gist, know what your cocktail requires, know what you want your guest to experience and think twice before adding egg white to cocktails.
Next up: How to prepare egg white?
Cheers! Talk soon!