Egging You On
If you’ve never examined a pre-1930s cocktail book, you should. It provides an enlightening glimpse into how our modern-day cocktails evolved. It also reveals a few surprises. For example, many of the recipes unabashedly call for a whole egg here or an egg white there; and while such a mixer may have been commonplace at the turn of the 20th century, it’s decidedly less acceptable today. In fact, we have to think that many imbibers would just as well skip a “salmonella sunrise,” convinced that any raw-egg-based libation would lead to a less-than-jolly trip to the emergency room.
More adventuresome drinkers, on the other hand, know that an egg can make all the difference. Furthermore, certain drinks, most notably the flip, simply cannot be made without them. “We’re adding lots of eggs to cocktails,” says David Neprove, Southern Wine & Spirits’ director of mixology in California. “It’s rich and delicious. A flip can be done with so many different spirits; I’ve even done it with Jägermeister.”
The flip appears briefly in Jerry Thomas’s 1862 bartending tome How to Mix Drinks, but its origins likely go back much further—to the early 18th century, when it was an egg-free drink consisting of beer, rum, and sugar, which was heated with a hot poker. As the recipe evolved, the flip became a cold, shaken mixture of liquor, warm winter spices, sugar, and egg. Sure, you could substitute an egg-yolk liqueur (as used in one of the recipes here), but adding a raw egg is not as risky as you might think. And to be honest, it’s significantly safer than wielding a red-hot poker.
By Francesco Lafranconi
- 1 oz. rye whiskey or Spanish brandy
- 1 oz. Warninks Advocaat egg-yolk liqueur
- ½ oz. Galliano liqueur
- ½ oz. cream-style sherry
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a small wine goblet. Garnish with a pinch of cardamom–fleur de sel mix.*
*To make cardamom–fleur del sel mix, combine 4 oz. of fleur de sel and 1 tsp. of ground green cardamom. Mix well and store in an airtight container.
Traditional recipe, circa mid-1800s
- 2 oz. VSOP Cognac or brandy
- 1 oz. gomme syrup*
- 1 whole egg
Combine ingredients with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a small glass or wine goblet. Garnish with fresh-ground nutmeg.
*To make gomme syrup, bring 2 cups superfine sugar and 1 cup water to a boil. Cool completely and store at room temperature in an airtight glass container.
Traditional recipe by Jerry Thomas, circa 1860s
- 2 oz. brandy
- 1 oz. Cruzan Single Barrel rum
- 3 oz. cold whole milk
- 1 whole egg
- 1 Tbsp. superfine sugar
- 1 Tbsp. cold water
Combine ingredients with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a tumbler and garnish with a sprinkle of ground nutmeg.
(Note: Substituting half-and-half for the milk will make a thicker, creamier drink. Using brown sugar in place of the superfine sugar will provide more depth of flavor.)