It’s the world’s simplest, most classic cocktail recipe – booze, citrus, sugar – gilded in all the right ways with an emulsion of egg white and olive oil, and the result is spectacular.
By Bowen Close
Every once in a while, something seemingly strange turns out to be extraordinarily fantastic. This cocktail is one of those successful culinary surprises, built on simple ingredients and techniques to produce something entirely new and innovative.
Olive oil and egg white are shaken together into an emulsion, opposing forces (what with fat being the number one inhibitor of an egg white’s innate desire to foam) coming together to embellish a simple combination of gin, lemon juice, orange liqueur, vanilla, and simple syrup. It’s the world’s simplest, most classic cocktail recipe – booze, citrus, sugar – gilded in all the right ways, and the result is spectacular. Bright and sweet, tangy and creamy, complex and silky smooth. And it looks as much like a sunny day as it tastes, all creamy lemon yellow topped with thick, fluffy meringue-like foam. Like a lemon meringue pie, actually, which turns out to be the best approximation of the flavor (minus the pie’s often cloying sweetness). There’s something about egg and oil and lemon that together are much bigger than the sum of their parts, and the best part of making this drink has been watching people react to their first sip, trying to piece together all the flavors and textures.
The original version of this cocktail is featured at Marvel Bar in Minneapolis, MN, the sister bar to increasingly popular restaurant The Bachelor Farmer. The recipe below tweaks the quantities a bit here and there and substitutes a few ingredients to make it easier for the home bartender, but the result is quite similar.
It’s important to note that you need to fully emulsify the egg white and the oil for this cocktail to work, and that takes some effort. I recommend about 200 shakes to really get those two into compliance, since they’d really rather not work together if they didn’t have to. Once you add the rest of the ingredients, you only need to shake until everything is combined. Once strained into the glass, the foam and the creamy yellow part of the cocktail will settle apart a bit, and that’s okay. You can always swirl the glass to recombine a bit, but it’s not necessary.
- 2 oz. gin
- ½ oz. orange liqueur (preferably something like Citronge or Cointreau - if using triple sec or something equally as sweet, reduce simple syrup to ¼ oz.)
- 1 oz. lemon juice
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract or paste
- ½ oz. simple syrup
- 1 egg white
- ½ oz. olive oil
- Combine gin, orange liqueur, lemon juice, vanilla, and simple syrup in a measuring cup or glass. Set aside.
- Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice, add egg white and olive oil. Shake heartily until fully emulsified, around 200 shakes (yes, really). Add the rest of the ingredients and shake until combined, about 10 seconds or so.
- Strain into a champagne flute or rocks glass and serve. As the cocktail settles the foam may separate out, and that's okay.
Bowen Close believes that food should make people happy and healthy, and loves bringing together people with creative, delicious food made from the heart. She loves making farm-inspired, flavorful dishes with sustainable ingredients - whether that's a big plate of roasted veggies, a towering chocolate layer cake, or a cocktail utilizing backyard ingredients - and collects recipes and other food-related stories on her website, Bowen Appétit. She is a chef, cooking instructor, and food writer living in Southern California with her husband and fully stocked pantry.