Foam it up! Egg whites vs. Aquafaba

Professional bartending21 August 2018Tyron Francisca

Foam it up! Egg whites vs. Aquafaba

So, you like cocktails with a nice, thick foam layer on top? Who doesn’t. Cocktails with foam have this elegant look and feel to it. Instagrammable to the max. But should you use classic egg whites or aquafaba to get the best and healthy foam? We tell you all about it!

Egg whites

Egg whites have been long seen as the go to ingredient for a smooth and foamy cocktail, but what are the pros and cons?

Pros: Raw egg whites can (if shaken properly) create a firm foam layer on cocktails. Now, what happens when you dry shake a drink? Proteins in egg whites are in a curled-up shape in their natural state. To create your thick foam layer, you need to “uncurl” these proteins into long strands. This is called denaturizing. Denaturizing can be done by shaking your egg whites with lots and lots of air. These strands also start to catch and surround air bubbles, creating your frothy mix. This process happens way better when there is no ice present in the drink 

Cons: Unpasteurized egg whites can be hazardous. They can pose great health risks to your guests. Eggs can be infected with the salmonella bacteria. It can cause serious stomach aches, nausea and dehydration. Salmonella infection could possibly be fatal. You can use pasteurized egg whites as a substitute. But in lots of cases, pasteurized egg white will not foam up as good as raw egg whites.


Okay, so the thought of having raw egg whites in your drinks scares you or you’re a self-proclaimed planet lover. We’ve got you covered. Move over egg whites. Hello vegan-friendly, gluten free, organic, sustainable Aquafaba.

Aquafaba is the left-over liquid one gets from boiling chickpeas. This fluid adds no smell nor taste to your cocktails. What it does is create a luscious, velvety foam layer that will stay firm for longer than egg whites.

So how do you make it? You can get aquafaba two ways. The easy way is to buy a can of chickpeas. Drain out the chickpeas and collect the liquid. You’re good to go. The second option is to soak dried chickpeas overnight in water. The following day you drain the chickpeas, add (triple the amount) of water and boil the chickpeas until tender. Use your cooked chickpeas to make humus or anything else you fancy. The remaining liquid is your aquafaba.

What methods give you the best foam that will stay as stable as possible?

A commonly known technique is the double shake. Double shaking is basically dry and wet shaking. Dry shaking is shaking all your ingredients together without ice. This will incorporate a lot of air into the drink and emulsify your egg whites or aquafaba. After a couple of second of firm shaking you add ice and shake again. Also known as wet shaking.

There is also the reverse dry shake. Which is the exact same process mentioned above, but just the other way around. First wet shake, discard ice and dry shake.

I’ve tested both methods many times and found that reverse dry shake has a slight firmer foam with smaller bubbles, compared to the double shake method to have larger bubbles. A favourite method I like to apply to incorporate air and foam, is the rolling technique. Simply apply the reverse dry shake or double shake method and finish off with rolling or throwing the drink without ice.

Curious if egg white or aquafaba is the foaming agent for you? Try them out with this delicious cocktail.

Amsterdam Sour.

  • 60ml Bols Barrel Aged Genever
  • 30ml Fresh lemon juice
  • 15ml Sugar Syrup (2:1)
  • 30ml Aquafaba/ Pasteurized egg white or egg whites from one full egg.
  • 20ml Ruby Port or your favourite red wine.

Shake all ingredients, except wine applying one of the above described shaking methods. Strain out in a rocks glass over cubed ice. Drizzle the wine on top. Garnish with a squeezed orange zest. Proost!

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Tyron Francisca

Tyron Francisca

Tyron is senior trainer at the Bols Academy. He loves genever and brandy and can tell you everything about it.

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