Raw egg whites have been an essential cocktail ingredient for many, many years. You can find the first written record of a cocktail recipe with egg white in Jerry Thomas's Bartender Guide from 1862. It is commonly used in sour cocktails like Gin Sour, Pisco Sour, or Whiskey Sour. And now, with an increasing demand for vegan options, there's a new product to substitute egg white in cocktails - Aquafaba.
This vegan alternative to egg white basically consists of chickpea liquid. Usually, you would pour this liquid down the drain, but luckily, someone very clever found a better use-case for it. It's a great way to create frothy, fluffy foams on cocktails, and it can be used as egg white replacement when baking, too. Another great benefit of Aquafaba, apart from being vegan, is that it doesn't have an odor. That makes for an excellent alternative for everyone who simply doesn't like egg whites or can't consume them because of their diet.
Why use egg whites in Cocktails
The use of egg white in cocktails creates a beautiful velvety texture, a richer mouthfeel, and it, too, smoothens the alcohol taste in cocktails. It creates a thick and consistent white foam on top of your cocktail. That upgrades the aesthetics of cocktails dramatically. And because it looks so pretty, you can find drinks with egg-white-foams all over Instagram. And you won't go back to a cocktail without this creamy extra. Everyone who already had a cocktail with egg white knows what I'm talking about.
What Aquafaba is
Aquafaba is trending in bars around the world for the past few years already. As mentioned before, this vegan alternative for cocktails is obtained from canned chickpea liquid. Discovered by chef Joel Roessel, the chickpea brine is an amazing emulsifier and foaming agent. So any time you need egg whites, whether for baking, cooking, or creating cocktails, you can substitute them with aquafaba.
And in times when we are becoming more and more conscious of what we consume, an alternative for raw egg white had to be found.
The name aquafaba may sound strange at first. It makes a lot of sense, though. It consists of the Latin words for water (aqua) and bean (faba). When shaken, aquafaba loses any smell and becomes completely odorless. So that's a big plus when compared to egg white.
What aquafaba does not do is smoothing the alcohol taste. But for the majority of cocktails, this isn't a deal-breaker. It's still a genial alternative, and you definitely give it a try.
What is Aquafaba used for?
As mentioned, Aquafabs is a perfect replacement for egg whites. It is the ideal ingredient for vegan cocktails and also for vegan cookies, waffles, or cakes. That is thanks to its similar properties to egg white regarding emulsifying, binding, and thickening. However, it's certainly no replacement if the egg is the main or only ingredient. So please don't try to create scrambled aquafaba. It won't work and doubtlessly won't taste right 😉
How you substitute egg whites for Aquafaba
To use aquafaba in cocktails, strain it to get pure and smooth chickpea water without any lumps. If you don't use it all at once, you can freeze it in 1oz portions for later use. In that case, simply defrost them right before mixing a cocktail. Once you have nice and smooth aquafaba, it's ready to be turned into the perfect fluff.
Cocktails containing egg whites usually use one whole egg white. Measuring this is easy. But how much aquafaba should you use to substitute an egg white? My recommendation is to start with 0.75oz of Aquafaba and check the results. In my opinion, this already creates plenty of foam if you do it correctly. Then shake the cocktail well and long enough to achieve the best results.
Another tip: try to reverse-dry shake to further improve the result. To do that, put all ingredients into your cocktail shaker and add ice.
Now shake the drink hard for approx 30 seconds. Remove the ice from the shaker and shake again for another 15 seconds without ice to get a thicker, more consistent foam. Finally, strain the cocktail in your chilled glass and enjoy the beautiful aquafaba foam.