U Is for Chickpea, Up

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Kelsey McClellan)

If you’ve ever been weirded out by cocktails that contain egg whites, or just avoided them all together because you’re vegan, there’s a worthy substitute to know about. Egg whites are added to a number of classic cocktails, like gin fizzes, to add texture and volume to it — it makes for a drink that’s extra creamy with a light, pillowy foam on top. These same characteristics can, however, be mimicked by another ingredient: aquafaba.

Aquafaba, Shaken Not Stirred

The liquid in your can of chickpeas, known as aquafaba, is a powerful ingredient. Since it contains some of the proteins and nutrients from the beans, it actually has strong emulsifying, foaming, binding, gelatinizing, and thickening properties. This means it can be whipped with a little sugar into a vegan dessert topping in place of whipped cream or even blended into vegan icing. This also means it can act as an egg replacement, since it has such similar qualities, to be used in baking, when making meringue, and when making cocktails.

So if you’re hesitant about egg whites in a cocktail for some reason or another, but still want to give the drink a shot, try aquafaba instead. No, your drink won’t taste like chickpeas — the smell and taste disappear when the liquid is shaken up and you’ll still get that same texture and foam. How to do it? Usually a recipe calls for one egg white per cocktail, so swap in an equal amount of aquafaba. That means adding 2 tablespoons or 1 ounce of whipped aquafaba to the drink before shaking.

5 Cocktails to Try Swapping in Aquafaba for Egg Whites