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Frame Cocktail Recipe: Vegan Winter Whiskey Sour

Frame & FRAMEbar > Frame Stories > No. 8: The Vegan Issue > Frame Cocktail Recipe: Vegan Winter Whiskey Sour
Photo by Joe Vaughn.

Everybody knows the best part of sipping a whiskey sour is that frothy foam on top, created by the alchemy of folding air rapidly into egg whites (i.e. shaking).

But not everybody knows that there’s a perfectly adequate plant-based replacement for egg whites that many of us already keep in our pantries, especially those of us who cook Mediterranean food.

Of course, we’re talking about aquafaba.

What is aquafaba?

AquaWHAT? Latin for “bean water,” aquafaba is the leftover liquid from cooking any legume, technically, but most of the time the term is used to refer to the liquid of chickpeas, specifically.

From meringues to mayos, the starchy byproduct has risen in popularity during the last decade as an egg-white substitute. It contains proteins that allow it to foam and emulsify to create a pleasing silkiness on the palate. Not only does aquafaba play a role in vegan cooking as an egg replacement, but it is a welcome guest star in cocktails, too.

Although some might find the idea of the ingredient off-putting, it lends a delightful frothiness to the texture and mouthfeel of cocktails. It’s appropriate for any cocktail you might put an egg white in (such as a Pisco Sour, White Lady, or Gin Fizz).

Where can you get aquafaba?

It can be homemade (by soaking and cooking dried chickpeas and reducing the liquid that’s left) or poured out of a can of chickpeas. I see very little difference in the quality between the two, although the canned method is less time-consuming. Keep refrigerated when not in use and discard after 4-5 days.

Yeah, but can you tell there are chickpeas in your cocktail?

A fair but unnecessary concern, since the flavor is minimal — as long as you don’t make the mistake of buying the salted variety. (Pro tip: Look for unsalted or low-sodium chickpeas if you plan to use the liquid for cocktails.)

Some claim they can smell the aquafaba, but what faint aroma there may be can be masked with the use of bitters — which, frankly, I recommend using in most cocktails anyway because they create another layer of complexity and cohesion between flavors.

— By Jaz’min Weaver


2 oz. whiskey (wheated bourbon if you have a sweet tooth; rye if you want to lean into the spice of the season)
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. orange/clove simple syrup*
1 oz. aquafaba


1. Combine ingredients inside a shaking tin, without ice, and shake for 12 seconds. This “dry shake” serves the purpose of aerating and allowing the ingredients to emulsify.

2. Shake again with ice to chill.

3. Pour into a glass, top with a couple dashes of bitters, and enjoy!

*Orange/Clove Simple Syrup

1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
1 orange peel
8 whole cloves

Simmer all ingredients together until sugar is dissolved. Strain. Refrigerate when not in use.