What Happens When You Add Olive Oil to a Cocktail?

Last week, I came across a promising looking bottle of extra virgin olive oil. It came in a dark bottle (dark bottles protect oil from the harmful effects of sunlight), and its label boasted “fruit flavor” with “a hint of grass.” I tasted a little of the olive oil straight and it did taste pretty nice to me—floral, grassy, and just a touch peppery. Most importantly, it tasted a whole lot like olives. Solid stuff. And perfect for what I had in mind: a cocktail.

Now, before you freak out, hear me out. I did a double take too when I first heard about using olive oil in a cocktail. For one thing, oil and water don’t actually mix, right?

No, they don’t, but that’s where the fun comes in. While it’s possible to use oil as a straight flavoring ingredient without dispersing it into the rest of a drink, I’m personally not a fan of sipping a cocktail only to watch it slowly separate before my eyes.

Luckily, bartender Pip Hanson of Marvel Bar figured out a simple solution: add an egg white. If you think about it, this totally makes sense. Cocktails calling for whole eggs have existed for a long time; both the lecithin in egg yolks and the network of proteins in egg whites emulsify water and oil together. If you think about olive oil as the “yolk” part of a cocktail, you can start to see how you could play with the idea to create innovative new drinks based on classic ratios.

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