Straight Up: Raw Egg Whites in Cocktails (and Ramos Gin Fizzes) Are Back!

Raw egg whites. They're not just for your breakfast glass of Tiger's Milk anymore. With the recent revival of certain pre-Prohibition cocktails, they've been finding their way back into some spectacularly elegant drinks.

Although this trend is a long way from taking hold at your local beer joint (for the same reason you probably shouldn't order sushi at a greasy spoon), over the last year or so, it's been making a noticeable splash at upper-end cocktail bars specializing in fine, hand-crafted drinks. (For more on this, see this fun NYTimes article from last month.)

You might well wonder what all the fuss is about. What could a nearly flavorless - and to many eyes, off-puttingly slimy - raw egg white possibly bring to a drink? The answer is texture and volume. Shaken thoroughly and briskly, egg whites will lend a wonderfully silky frothiness to a cocktail. Think soufflé. Think meringue. All fluffiness, airiness, and light.

Used in old standbys such as the Pisco Sour and the Pink Lady, as well as the Tom & Jerry and the Boston Flip (which also use the yolks), egg whites enjoy their most show-stoppingly spectacular moment in the classic New Orleans cocktail, the Ramos Gin Fizz.

Pin it button big

Although we'd tried making this deliciously delicate floral cocktail at home before, it wasn't until a recent visit to The Velvet Tango Room in Cleveland (which we had heard raves about on Michael Ruhlman’s blog), that we finally saw it done right. The trick is to shake it. A lot. As in the full five minutes Mr. Ramos' original recipe specified (you should be able to stand a drinking straw up in the finished product). Later, we put this method to the test in our own kitchen, and sure enough, it worked!

Ramos Gin Fizz (adapted from Gary Regan, The Joy of Mixology)

makes two drinks


2 ounces gin
1 ounce cream (we used heavy whipping cream)
1 fresh egg white
3 drops orange flower water (we used 2 measures from the tiny plastic insert in the cap of the bottle)
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
club soda or seltzer water (set aside for topping up the drink)

Combine all ingredients (except the seltzer) in a cocktail shaker over ice. Wrap the shaker in a tea towel and shake vigorously for five minutes (we took short breaks every minute - a two-person tag team would work well). Strain into a tall, narrow glass (such as a Collins glass or a champagne flute) and top up with a splash of seltzer. Garnish with an orange wheel, and serve with a straw - and an iced-tea spoon so you can relish every drop!

Pin it button big

Related Links
The Celluloid Pantry: Ramos Gin Fizz and Dead Reckoning (1947)
Straight Up: DIY Simple Syrup
Safeeggs.com (While raw eggs are generally safe for consumption, they still carry a very small risk of contamination. For those with health concerns, Safeeggs.com supplies pasteurized eggs.)

Have you ever made or tried a cocktail with egg whites?

(Images: Nora Maynard)

-Nora

Per serving, based on 2 servings. (% daily value)
Calories
126
Fat
5.3 g (8.1%)
Saturated
3.3 g (16.3%)
Carbs
1.5 g (0.5%)
Fiber
0 g (0.2%)
Sugars
0.3 g
Protein
0.3 g (0.7%)
Cholesterol
19.4 mg (6.5%)
Sodium
6.2 mg (0.3%)