Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The incredible edible (and drinkable) egg!

A little squeamish about cracking an egg into your cocktail? I'm not surprised, many people are. I was skeptical myself and it took some major cajones to take that first sip that I thought was certainly going to contain salmonella. Guess what? It didn't.

Now don't assume that the alcohol in your cocktail will kill the germs that lurk in egg whites. You've got to take good care of yourself and your customer (aka your friends) when using raw eggs. Although there are much harsher FDA requirements these days raw eggs still come with some degree of danger. It's best to buy extremely fresh eggs, keep them super cold, use them quickly, and wash them (and your hands) thoroughly before and after using eggs. I also encourage washing your bar tools quickly after each use to combat germs and smells.

Farm fresh eggs are easy to get your hands on these days so buy them! Spending a little more money for a safer product seems like a no-brainer to me, and it's important to support local farms. To learn more about my favorite local farm, Bayou Farms, and their farm fresh eggs click here. 

When using raw eggs in your cocktails there are a few notes to follow:
1. It's definitely not recommended to served cocktails with raw eggs to children and pregnant women. Since they shouldn't be having cocktails anyway you should be in the clear.
2. Egg whites stink, make sure there is something "on the nose" such as bitters or mint to mask the smell.
3. Get creative, experiment with making designs in your whites, running a toothpick through a few drops of bitters on top of whites gives your cocktails a SUPER professional look.
4. Keep it cold and clean (surfaces, tools, hands, glasses, etc.)
5. Dry Shake (super nerdy explanation below)

Dry shaking is the process of shaking a drink without ice to encourage emulsification. Egg whites when combined with oxygen stretch the egg's protein molecules and traps this oxygen inside creating the foam.  The pH of albumen (egg white) changes when an acid is added which stabilizes the foam. This is why the head of a pisco sour is so frothy and foamy. Acids and egg whites are difficult to mix so the shaking process will take some muscle but the result is a thick foam. When egg whites come in contact with any sort of fat or oil the proteins break down causing the oxygen to escape so keep your fingers and bacon out of your drink!

Still concerned? You can always use pasteurized eggs or Fee Brother's Foam as a substitution.  Using these ingredients will not create the same mouth feel or flavor of your drink but if your piece of mind is important, don't miss out on a great cocktail just because you don't want to use eggs.

Cock-a-doodle-do Ya'll!

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