Drink of the Week: The Egg Sour

Image ALT text goes here.A coworker of mine pointed out to me recently that  a good chunk of my post on eggnog from Christmas of 2011 consisted of warnings, provisos, and disclaimers about the use of raw egg. Well, I included no such warning on my post on the amazing Pisco Sour a couple of weeks back, although that used only a pretty small amount of egg white. Today, I’m throwing all caution to the proverbial wind with a drink featuring an entire egg — yolk and all. The fact that I had about 9 bird ova in the fridge threatening to go to waste earlier this week is entirely coincidental.

The Egg Sour appears to have originated in print via Jerry Thomas’s classic bartending guide from 1887 — back in the days when refrigeration was rare and penicillin was nonexistent but people knew a tasty and seriously refreshing libation when they tasted one. This drink would also fall easily into the category of a breakfast drink. While I don’t usually go in for that sort of thing, this is certainly a first-rate, and more potent, mimosa alternative.

The Egg Sour

1 ounce cognac or brandy
1 ounce orange curaçao
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1 large egg

Combine your cognac, curaçao, lemon juice, whole egg, and sugar, in a cocktail shaker. It’s not entirely necessary but, if you like, you can beat the egg into the rest of the ingredients to aid in the blending process. (It might be more important to observe this step if you’re attempting two Egg Sours at a time.) Next, shake all of your ingredients vigorously without ice in order to ensure a good mix. When you take off the top of your shaker, you should see a nice orangey-white froth. Add ice, shake again very vigorously, and strain into a well-chilled rocks glass. Toast the chicken, or the egg, whichever you think comes first.

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Very observant readers may notice that a couple of ingredients are similar to last week’s drink, the East India House Cocktail, and that’s no coincidence. I took advantage of my newish bottle of curaçao and the lovely, and very free, fifth of Camus Ile de Ré Fine Island Cognac for this drink and it’s a lovely combination. I’m sure other brands of cognac or brandy, such as my value-priced fall back brandy, Reynal, will work extremely nicely here as well, though they may lack a certain touch of class.

As I said above, this is one seriously refreshing but, thanks to the lemon, not quite super-sweet drink. I tried doubling the sugar up to two teaspoons for people with stronger sweettooths, but the result actually tasted less sweet and pleasing to the tongue and had similar results with an entire teaspoon of simple syrup. Interesting.

This is the point in the blog when I usually comment on some cultural or personal aspect of a given beverage, but today’s drink is just tasty in a way that’s totally out of context with much of anything else. Maybe I should have spent more time defending my use of a raw egg.

  

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Drink of the Week: The Whiskey Sour

whiskey sourSours are an entire family of cocktail which mostly utilize some combination of lemon juice and sugar. (The sour mix used by many bartenders is, in my experience, slightly revolting.). The Latin American favorite, the pisco sour, is probably a better known drink in many quarters these days, but the whiskey sour has been one of the standard cocktails since cocktails have become popular. Oddly enough, it’s possible that both of these cocktail favorites actually began in Peru.

The Whiskey Sour

2 ounces whiskey (bourbon, rye, Canadian, etc.)
1/2-1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
About 1/2 of an egg white  (semi-optional)
Maraschino cherry or orange slice (optional garnishes)

Dissolve sugar in whiskey and lemon juice and add egg white.  Shake vigorously. You should see a light froth on top of the liquid.

Note that I haven’t mentioned ice at this point. It is important to keep the whiskey, lemon juice and egg white at near room temperature in order for the egg to properly emulsify. Once you’ve shaken the liquid thoroughly, however, it is time to add ice and shake again very vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini, rocks or, if you’re really serious about it, a sour glass.  Add garnishes if you’ve got them.

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Two provisos. One — the “sour” in “whiskey sour” is a serious kind of sour and thus, this drink is not for tartphobes.  Even as an increasingly hardy beverage connoisseur, I found the pucker factor on my whiskey sours to be a bit much, especially without the egg white.

Which brings us to the second proviso. I’m sure some reading this will react strongly against the use of raw egg whites, which can be a bit controversial because of the very small but not quite nonexistent risk of salmonella poisoning. If you’re especially concerned for whatever reason — and if your immune system is compromised or your health is generally shaky, I would be somewhat concerned — you might consider using pasteurized or powdered egg whites or just making the drink without it.

However, be aware that the risk of contaminated egg whites, especially if they are reasonably fresh and kept refrigerated, is actually fairly infinitesimal; whites are less vulnerable than yolks to bacteria and the overall incidence of salmonella has been going down. Also, though I can’t speak to the science of the point, bartenders argue that the alcohol and lemon juice will tend to kill any dangerous microscopic critters. In any case, I’ve been drinking this stuff all week and, aside from being extremely tired of the flavor of lemon juice, I’m doing just fine.

  

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