Matthew Biancaniello's Indian Summer cocktail in an emu egg (Colin Young-Wolff, xx )
Easter is just around the corner, which means it's time to think about breaking those Lenten fasts with some spectacular libations that are befitting of the season. Since cocktails using jellybeans or Cadbury Creme Eggs as ingredients aren't terribly appetizing or refined, we've highlighted a few drinks selected from bar menus across Los Angeles that feature egg whites, a classic and sophisticated cocktail ingredient.
Eggs have actually been used in alcoholic concoctions for centuries, but American bartenders didn't start using eggs to create a layer of thick, frothy foam in their drinks until the 1880s. One of the most popular egg-white cocktails from this era was a labor-intensive, all-white drink made by bartender Henry C. Ramos called the New Orleans Fizz, known today as the Ramos Gin Fizz.
For courageous cocktail aficionados looking for something flavorful and appropriately colored to sip during this spring season, here are four notable examples that showcase egg whites.
400 Rabbits at Las Perlas ($12)
Raul Yrastorza, the general manager of this popular mescal and tequila bar in downtown, says he was influenced by the Santa Monica Farmers' Market and the open-air markets of Oaxaca, Mexico, when he created this appropriately named drink for Las Perlas. The purple-hued concoction is poured over a large mountain of crushed ice in a rocks glass, and besides egg whites, includes Herradura Silver tequila, agave nectar, a bit of pinot noir, muddled blackberries and a house-made port wine syrup. The result is a multi-layered stunner that is garnished with flowers and berries.
Las Perlas, 107 E. 6th St., Los Angeles, (213) 988-8355, http://www.lasperlas.la
Rose Perez at Rivera Restaurant ($12)
Bartender Thomas Murphy won the modern downtown Latin restaurant's annual Coaster competition with this delicious, vibrant dark pink cocktail. His creation combines lime juice, simple syrup, ginger, raspberries, rosé wine, cachaça, a bit of Peychaud's bitters and egg white strained into a sour or coupe glass. Despite its almost electric cherry-colored hue, the drink actually has a surprising masculine, enjoyable bitter flavor and the egg white foam is quite thick, resting on the cocktail's surface like a weighty arctic crust.
Rivera, 1050 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, (213) 749-1460
Whiskey Sour at Copa d'Oro ($5 during happy hour)
Bartender Vincenzo Marianella's Happy Depression Cocktail Menu, featured all night on Mondays and from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. every day except Sundays, is a sharply curated list of timeless, classic options. This whiskey-based cocktail is shaken over ice with simple syrup, fresh lemon juice and pasteurized egg white to make a drink with a soft pastel yellow that is strained into a glass that resembles a low-key goblet. The bar says they use the original recipe for this drink and the menu notes that it is "considered one of the first cocktails ever made from the early 1800s."
Copa d'Oro, 217 Broadway St., Santa Monica, (310) 576-3030, http://www.copadoro.com
Scarlet Aperol Fizz at the Roger Room ($14)
Though several colorful cocktails on this speakeasy's bar list call for egg white as an ingredient, an orangey Aperol and Scarlet Ibis rum drink created by bartender Damian Windsor serves as a light, refreshing grapefruit-flavored treat, great for spring. The two spirits are shaken with sugar syrup, lemon juice and pasteurized egg white, supplemented with a bit of club soda, strained into a tall glass over crushed ice and garnished with a sprig of mint. Windsor notes that "the egg white lightens up the intensity of the 100-proof rum and the strong Aperol taste."
The Roger Room, 370 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 854-1300