Classic Whiskey Sour

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I was watching The Big Fat Quiz of Everything, 2019 edition and they had a segment of “guess the cocktail.” I panicked when they made what was clearly a whiskey sour but added egg whites. I figured it was some other cocktail but they indeed claimed it was a classic whiskey sour. I thought “OMG, have I been making whiskey sours wrong all this time?” I immediately ran to all my cocktail guides to see what they said. None of my resources included egg whites in a whiskey sour, so I turned to the internet. I found that depending on the resource there are egg whites in a whiskey sour. I am thinking that a non egg white whiskey sour is more American, as all my resources are American, whereas adding egg whites is more popular in the UK. I found a lot of online sources claimed egg whites as optional (if they were mentioned at all).

I got curious as to what the difference was between the two, leading to this post. I made the exact same cocktail, one with egg whites and one without; this is what I found.


The Recipe

Ingredients

2oz bourbon
3/4oz lemon juice
3/4oz simple syrup

(1 egg white)

* Whiskey Sours traditionally use bourbon as its whiskey base. I find bourbon to be the “sweeter” style of whiskey. I have made whiskey sours with both a scotch and a rye style whiskey but both times I was thinking it would taste better with a bourbon. Though to be fair I have a bourbon addiction so I would likely think that about most whiskey cocktails.

Directions

  • Without Egg Whites
    Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour over ice in low ball.

  • With Egg Whites
    If you are adding an egg white you want to use the dry shake method. This means you are shaking all the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker without ice. This allows the egg whites to become foamy. Then pour over ice.

You can see the visual difference in the pictures above between the whiskey sour with egg white and the one without.


The Results

I found that doing this test was a good way to kill my afternoon :p slowly sipping one version and then the other to find the subtle differences. The cocktail with egg whites was less strong despite having the same amount of alcohol in it. It actually found it tasted sweeter. I couldn’t taste the subtleties of the bourbon as well when egg whites were added and thus the alcohol taste was muted. Thus, the cocktail without egg whites tasted comparatively strong, but the citrus and sugar combination make the whiskey sour a really smooth drink even though there is more alcohol in the balance. In the end I finished the one without egg whites much faster. It may be because I really enjoy the taste of whisky and wasn’t as big of fan of it being muted with the egg whites. Adding egg whites might be a good option for someone who doesn’t want to alcohol taste to be so prominent.

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Hannah Howey