In Nerdery

Experiment #1: wonderfoam, aquafaba, egg white w/ saline, egg white

Whether you’re mixing a classic Clover Club, or shaking your arm off to whip up a Ramos Gin Fizz, egg white is probably the ingredient you reach for to create the foamy, frothy texture & finish these classic cocktails are famous for. Although it may seem strange to include egg in a drink, this particular cocktail ingredient is actually very old-school. We love the way it gives certain cocktails a smooth, frothy texture, and can highlight or mute certain ingredients to create a harmonious balance in flavors. When whipping up a classic Sour or Fizz, it’s a must!

More recently, other foaming agents have emerged as alternatives to egg white’s classic foam. These include aquafaba, the liquid leftovers of cooked chickpeas, and chemical foaming substances.

But how similar are all these ingredients, really? To assuage our curiosity, we recently decided to settle the question by putting them head-to-head, comparing egg white, aquafaba, and cocktail foam to see which created the frothiest, fluffiest result. As a test cocktail we picked the Lonely Hearts Club — it’s a frothy cocktail with a lot of delicate floral notes, so it reveals any extra favors or characteristics that the foaming agents might add.


Egg White:

Initially, we tried two versions of the egg white cocktail, one standard version and one with a bit of added saline, to match the sodium content of the aquafaba we used. Although saline works well in some cocktails, it didn’t help the floral flavor of our test drink! So, we left it out of our second experiment.

Our observations:

Experiment #1: the egg white created a foam with larger bubbles, and this foam fully separated from the cocktail to layer on top of it more quickly than the other options. We didn’t find it to have any taste or smell, and it’s clear why this method is so popular as a cocktail addition.

Experiment #2: we used a different brand of brand of egg white, which behaved quite differently than our standard option. It created a much paler, less frothy version of the cocktail, and was the least favorite of the three cocktails tried in our second experiment.


Experiment #2: egg white, aquafaba & wonderfoam


Named from the Latin words for ‘water’ and ‘bean’, aquafaba is the leftover liquid that results from cooking chickpeas (most often through boiling). It entered the foaming lexicon in 2014, thanks to vegan bakers who were trying to create a vegan meringue. It did a fabulous job, and cocktail enthusiasts quickly incorporated it into their repertoire as well.

Similar to egg white, the leftover liquid from cooking chickpeas supposedly adds no smell nor taste to cocktails, and creates a smooth, thick layer of foam.

Our observations:

Experiment #1: using the aquafaba from canned chickpeas, this yielded the frothiest and most long-lasting foam by a long shot, but also carried a faint but distinct smell & taste of chickpeas when drinking the cocktail. According to others, aquafaba isn’t supposed to have a smell or taste, so we decided to try our own hand at making aquafaba. This would both remove the sodium found in the canned product, as well as create a fresh product to use. But what were the results?

Experiment #2: using our homemade aquafaba (based off this recipe) gave no taste or smell to the cocktail, and created an even froth with very small bubbles. The texture was good in the cocktail, but the foam did begin to dissipate as the cocktail sat.


Cocktail Foam:

There are quite a few bottled cocktail foaming agents available! We used Wonderfoam Cocktail Foamer, which gets its foaming properties from the saponin content of Quillaja saponaria tree bark. The bottle suggests “simply add 3–5 drops to your ingredients depending on the size and style of the drink, then shake to create a thick and stable foam!”

Our observations:

Experiment #1: The liquid in the bottle was quite viscous and had a dark color similar to Angostura bitters (unsurprisingly, considering it’s a similarly bark-based ingredient). Using 4-5 drops did affect the color of the cocktail, which was considerably pinker and more intense than our other options. In the cocktail, it created a foam with a mix of small & large bubbles, but also added an acidic flavor to the cocktail that conflicted with the delicate floral notes.

Experiment #2: On the second try we used only 3 drops of the liquid, which still gave the cocktail a more intense pink, although not as dramatic as the previous version. It also added less flavor & acid to this cocktail. In the cocktail, it gave an even foam with a mix of large & small bubbles, which kept its structure the longest of our three options.


After so much wondering, it was really satisfying to line up all the options we had on hand and compare them head-to-head! In our experimenting, we preferred the classic egg white on our first try, while the second experiment was a much closer contest. It’s fantastic that those with allergies or a vegan diet can still whip up a beautifully frothy cocktail, whether it’s a classic whiskey sour or a rich, dessert-y Beauty School Dropout.