Though it may come as a surprise to some, eggs have been added to drinks for centuries. During the Medieval and Elizabethan eras, a doctor might’ve suggested a sickly patient fix themselves a glass of beer or wine with eggs, honey, and herbs whipped in, known as Posset. Colonial Americans were big fans of the Flip—alcohol (usually rum) mixed with sugar, spices, and egg—a cocktail that’s still very popular today.
Physical laborers like miners and farmhands in the 19th Century would stop into bars as early as 5:00 AM to fortify themselves for the long day ahead with two raw eggs cracked into a beer with a side shot of whiskey (rise and shine!), while their bourgeois counterparts were gathering in their parlors to enjoy legendary bartender Jerry Thomas’s self-explanatory Sherry and Egg cocktail. In fact, lore has it that it was in Thomas’s 1862 Bartender’s Guide that the Whiskey Sour recipe first appeared, and definitely didn’t include any kind of “sour mix” (…that was the sound of every tipsy 22-year-old gasping) but simply whiskey, egg white, simple syrup, and lemon juice.
Fast forward to today, and bar director of The Bonnie in Astoria, Queens Mike Di Tota’s perfect explanation of why the tradition lives: "They give the drink more depth and create another layer: a textural experience, in addition to the bold flavor of the whiskey. Egg whites soften and mellow all the flavors in a drink, blending and uniting them; a whiskey sour is a bright, acidic, refreshing drink, and when you add an egg white, it becomes smooth and luscious." This cocktail is smooth and luscious indeed, and you can enjoy the same experience at home by following his recipe.
Sonoma Sour | Mike Di Tota, The Bonnie
2 oz. Redwood Empire American Whiskey
2 oz. Cocchi Barolo Chinato
.5 oz. Amaro Sfumato
.75 oz. simple syrup (1:1)
.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 egg white
Dry shake all ingredients except Cocchi Barolo Chinato in cocktail shaker vigorously for about 20 seconds to emulsify egg white. Add ice to shaker and shake again until ice cold. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass. Carefully place funnel into glass, below egg white foam, and add Cocchi Barolo Chinato. Garnish with lemon twist.