IMBIBE: Aquafaba sours have all the frothy fun, without the salmonella

There are a few things you should know about whiskey sours:

First, sweet and sour mix is gross. It’s not very hard to create a sour cocktail from scratch and give up the big bottle of electric green stuff. All you really need is a lemon and some sugar, or if you don’t want to make a simple syrup yourself, you can buy it pre-made at the grocery store or the liquor store.

Second, a Boston sour is a whiskey sour with an egg white, which makes for a delicious froth that rises to the top of this digestif.

OK, so the chances of salmonella from a frothy raw egg white in your drink are lower than the chances of a hangover from having one too many of these, but raw ingredients can admittedly be a turnoff.

I recently discovered an alternative way to add foam to your beverages, thanks to Chicago Tribune food and beverage contributor Lisa Futterman. Apparently, vegans have been pouring off bean juice as an egg alternative in baking for quite some time, but this is the first time I’ve heard of straining chickpeas for an after dinner drink.

Aquafaba (literally bean water) is that slightly smelly liquid preserving canned beans, and Futterman recommends garbanzo aquafaba for cocktails. I imagine this is due to their mild flavor and aroma, but color could be a consideration, not to mention how many cans of garbanzo beans it takes to make hummus.

Ready to take this deep dive into legume-based mixology with me?

Sidecars can also be served with foam, shown here sans aquafaba in a champagne coupe | photo credit: Achim Schleuning, via Creative Commons

Aquafaba Boston Sour

Serves: 1


  • 2 oz. bourbon or blended whiskey*
  • 1 oz. aquafaba (or 1 egg white, if you’re feeling adventurous)
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Angostura bitters


  • Place bourbon, aquafaba, simple syrup and lemon juice in a shaker and shake vigorously.
  • Add ice, shake again until chilled, and strain into a chilled martini glass or champagne coupe.
  • Garnish with a couple drops of angostura on top of the foam.

* This recipe also works to make a Pisco sour, or a Gin-campari sour (1 oz. of each)

Headline photo by Flickr user Kenn Wilson.