Photo Credit - Natalie Donofrio
In the wake of the modern bartender creating all manners of flavors, the search for an ingredient to set them apart was set to “full steam ahead”. People from all parts of the world began to look into ingredients from all around them in order to create something new. Today, we are going to focus on the egg. The incredible, edible, egg (yes I know I borrowed that tag-line, but honestly, who doesn’t remember that ad campaign?)
The egg has been a part of our diet since…well, since forever! It was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to incorporate it into a cocktail and I, for one, sure am glad that it happened. Now we have libations such as: the Nog, the Fizz, the Flip, or my favorite, the Sour.
While the cocktail named the Flip incorporates the entire egg (yolk and white), most of the cocktails will utilize just the white. I am going to touch on the four that I named previously so that you can be just a little more informed about what is going on at your local cocktail bar.
First, let’s start with the Sour.
The Sour is defined as a cocktail having a base spirit, lemon or lime juice, and a sweetener (triple sec, simple syrup, grenadine, or pineapple juice are common). Egg whites can also be included in some sours. So, if you are at your local watering hole and ask for a whiskey sour and receive a rocks glass with whiskey and sour mix (sour mixes are often premade with lemon juice, lime juice, and sugar), but you remember being in-town at the new mixology hot-spot and one of your friends got a “whiskey sour” yet it came in a fancy coupe glass with a thick layer of froth, well, then that is also a sour. The difference is most likely that the mixology bar used whiskey, fresh lemon and/or lime juice, simple syrup, and an egg white. It is important to understand what is happening here. The egg white is about 90% water and 10% proteins (albumins, mucoproteins, and globulins for all the geeks like me that need to know). When the bartender is adding the egg white to the shaker, it is always accompanied by a form of citrus. The citric acid “cooks” the egg white and is making a “meringue” of sorts inside the shaker tin. That is why you will often see them shake the ingredients without ice first, and then with ice. This is to ensure that the egg white proteins are being properly prepared for us to consume.
The Fizz is in the same category as Sours, but with the addition of carbonated water and like the Sours, they do not all have the addition of an egg or egg white. Probably the most famous is the Gin Fizz, which is gin, lemon juice, sugar (often simple syrup), that is shaken and poured over ice and then topped with carbonated water. A few simple twists to this cocktail include: the Silver Fizz (we then add an egg white), the Golden Fizz (we add an egg yolk), or a Royal Fizz (we add the whole egg). The variations are all added to the shaker with the other ingredients and shaken without ice for at least a minute before adding ice and shaking again for at least another minute, then poured out and topped with carbonated water.
The Flip is a category of cocktails and according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term was first used in 1695 to describe a mixture of beer, rum, and sugar, heated with a red-hot iron. The iron caused the drink to froth, and this frothing (or "flipping") engendered the name. Over time, eggs were added and the proportion of sugar increased, the beer was eliminated, and the drink ceased to be served hot. Personally, I find the Whiskey Flip to be my favorite which is 3oz. Whiskey (I prefer bourbon), 1 whole egg, .25oz. of simple syrup, and 2 tsp of heavy cream. To me, this is the perfect cocktail for as soon as the weather starts to turn cooler.
Finally, the Nog. I remember Eggnog being a staple among my family during the holidays and as a child, I remember loathing it. There was something about it that I just couldn’t get down on. Fast forward quite a few years and I try eggnog again. Only this time, it’s delicious!
What was different?
Booze. Booze is what was different. My family, come to find out, was spiking it with either whiskey or spiced rum. It’s no wonder that I found my way into this industry…
I have since grown to love me some eggnog. I find that Alton Brown’s recipe is the crowd pleaser and can be found here. While the recipe does call for some rum, cognac, and bourbon, I find that after it is made, adding a little more bourbon does it juuuust right.
I hope this has helped a little when it comes to deciphering the cocktail menu at your favorite crafty bar. I would hope that this gets you to open up your taste buds a little and try something out of the box.
I am going to leave you with a recipe of my own for all of you adventurous home bartenders to try. I call it Sky Blue.