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How Using Raw Eggs Will Make Your Cocktails Excellent

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Looking at a gorgeous, bright, and mouth watering Amaretto Sour invokes the same feeling of doting adoration you might have when you fall in love for the first time. That is... until you realise its made with raw eggs. "Eggs-cuse me?!" you splutter in disgust. "This must be some kind of sick yolk!". You might even conclude that the insanely delicious and popular drink in front of you might not be all it is cracked up to be.

"Why are there eggs in my cocktail?" is a question every bartender has heard at least once, but it's not difficult to see why people are so concerned about it. After all, don't raw eggs have salmonella? Nothing can be so delicious that it's worth infecting yourself for, surely? Well according to the BBC, in the UK the risk of getting sick from consuming raw eggs is 'more or less a thing of the past'. This is because eggs stamped with the familiar red lion, sold exclusively in the majority of supermarkets and making up over 90% of all eggs produced in Britain, come from hens that have been vaccinated and are now immune to the disease.

This essentially means that you're much more likely to be sick from a hangover than from any eggs present in your drink. While this may be great news for us, it didn't stop people from adding eggs to their drinks before this was normalised. In fact, the gran-daddy of eggy drinks, the Whiskey Sour, was created in the 1870s, 128 years before it was considered safe to consume them raw. What was it about a Whiskey Sour that was so good that people would genuinely risk a painfully slow and nauseating death for just a sip?

The reason is much simpler than you might think. Egg whites are an amazing emulsifier that blend and hold together all the separate ingredients of a drink, even if they're palatably or chemically incompatible. A great example is how the idea of mixing whiskey and milk in a cup sounds offensive on paper but you'd gleefully drink baileys (or this homemade alternative) and eggnog at Christmas without a second thought.

They also add a soft frothy texture with the added benefit that the foam doesn't dissipate over time. Anyone who's had a long catch up with a friend over drinks knows that if you don't drink certain cocktails in a timely manner it may begin to physically separate and completely change it's taste and texture into an undrinkable sloppy mess. To round it all off, unlike most ingredients that will go into a drink egg white by itself is virtually flavourless and carries almost none of the 'eggy' scent we all know and hate.

These simple qualities are what have given us the entire subcategory of cocktails known as sours - short, sweet and citrus-y drinks which include Whiskey Sours, Amaretto Sours, Midori Sours and many other variations. Eggs are even integral in drinks that are wildly different in taste and texture like the White Lady, Ramos Gin Fizz and the American festive classic, Eggnog. There are so many to choose from, but omelette you decide which one to try first!

Now that you know whats up, you might be feeling a bit whisky and keen to try a cocktail with an egg inside. Here are 4 tips to make sure your drinks egg-cellent.

1) It goes without saying that the fresher the egg, the better the drink will be. Avoid using eggs that are cracked, discoloured or smell bad, as they are probably rotten or contaminated. If it is past the best before date on the red lion stamp then don't go near them either. If in doubt, throw it out.

2) Separate the egg white out and carefully avoid getting any yolks in. You can do this by juggling the yolk between the two halves of the shell - but try not to get any of the shell itself in! Alternatively, you can keep the process clean and simple by getting yourself one of these handy egg yolk separators from Amazon.

3) Limit the amount of egg white you include to 12.5ml per drink, which is roughly half an ounce or half the whites of a medium sized egg. Too much will cause your cocktail to over-emulsify and will resemble a thick dessert more than a drink! To measure accurately, always use a jigger - a very important piece of cocktail making equipment.

4) Blending it all up to avoid slimy bits ruining your drink may seem like a daunting task you'd rather avoid, but it really is basically as simple as any other drink. Dry shaking, ie shaking in a cocktail shaker without ice, followed by a hard shake with ice is the best way to get a great velvety foam at home.

To the thrill seekers and adventurers, we'd love to see your take on some of the eggy drinks we've mentioned above! Tag us on Instagram @eksteeuk and share which ones you've been mixing up!

P.S. If you're still not sold on the idea of eggs in your cocktails, or you're mixing drinks for people with allergies or vegan/vegetarian diets, try using an equal measurement of pineapple juice as a good alternative - just note that it will alter the flavour profile a little.



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