Usually, getting a fluffy, stable foam on top of a sour requires a good bit of hard, vigorous shaking. This isn’t an issue if you have some amount of upper body strength, but some people (like me) have to “dry shake,” which means breaking the process down into two parts by first building the egg white foam without ice, then adding ice and shaking again to chill. Others do the inverse of that—called “the reverse shake”—which I am not a fan of (the bubbles are bigger, and I want tiny bubbles). If you have a blender, however, this discussion is null and void.
You probably think of your blender as a tool for making blended drinks, like margaritas, but it turns out that this is a small-minded and limited worldview for one to have. According to Jeffrey Morgenthaler, bar manager and author of several cocktail books such as “Drinking Distilled,” you can make fluffy, perfectly chilled sours—or any cocktail that calls for shaking—right in a blender. You just need to add less ice.
I had originally emailed Jeffrey to ask him what he thought about the reverse shake. It turns out Jeffrey has “a real strong shake” so doesn’t “do any of that,” but added that the “reverse dry shake is fucking stupid, also. If the whole point is to get the drink cold, what are we doing shaking it for a minute after we’ve finished chilling it? It’s a nonsense technique.”
“The very best thing to do is throw the whole thing in a blender with one 1"x 1" cube and blend it until the ice is gone,” he explained. “That’s how I make all my cocktails at home that call for shaking. It makes less mess and it’s way easier. Just use one of those ice cubes per sour. It’s better than shaking in every possible way.”
This, to me, is genius. Tossing a single ice cube of that size in with the rest of your sour ingredients offers just the right amount of chill and dilution by the time it melts, while the blades do all the agitating for you.
Just add 60mL spirit, 20mL lemon or lime, 20mL simple syrup (or other liquid sweetener), and half an egg white, along with the ice cube, and blend until you can’t see the cube anymore. It’s really the laziest way to make this slightly finicky, fussy beverage. And I do love being lazy.