’Tis the season for gathering around the fireplace and sipping on egg nog. This seasonal drink is a staple around the holidays and, yes, it does contain uncooked eggs. I say this because when I make a whiskey sour with raw egg whites, there are folks who are dumbfounded and slack-jawed at the sight of a raw egg getting mixed with a cocktail — probably the same folks who are enjoying a cup of egg nog as I write this.
There are three types of drinks cocktails that have historically included raw egg and an ingredient — sours, flips and nogs. Sours contain egg whites, flips the whole egg and nogs use whole eggs and cream.
This column will focus on the flip, which was originally crafted as far back as the 1600s by British sailors who tossed beer, rum and sugar between two cocktail shakers until the drink frothed. Subsequently, colonial barkeeps used a hot iron as a stirring device to develop a frothy consistency. A recipe for the flip was first published in the mid-to-late 19th century and called for the more practical egg to add froth. The beer and heat were taken away (though I do like the hot iron idea) and this version is still used today
The Tarragon Flip recipe that follows employs the reverse dry shake, which sounds like a pro wrestling move, but is in fact one of the best techniques to ensure a beautiful, silky froth.
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The following cocktail is a Capitol Bar original created by Ryan Hembree after a recent visit to Death’s Door Gin, a delightful London dry gin made with wild juniper berries from Washington Island off the tip of the Wisconsin peninsula.
A note on eggs: As long as you use chilled pasteurized eggs or fresh farm eggs used within a few days, you shouldn’t have to worry about salmonella poisoning. Children and pregnant women excluded of course. Additionally, eggs can be washed with warm (not hot) water for added safety.
Kevin Hopper likes warm fires and egg-laden drinks during the holidays. He mans the bar at State Street cocktail haven Capitol Bar.
2 ounces Death’s Door gin, or other premium gin
1 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce Tarragon simple syrup (recipe follows)
Star anise garnish
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 star anise pod
1 sprig of fresh tarragon
Pinch of coarse black pepper
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the first three ingredients and shake for 15 seconds. Strain into a mixing glass and add the egg. Pour out the ice from the shaker and shake again very hard for 20 seconds to build up the foam. Pour into a double old-fashioned glass and top with the star anise.
Tarragon simple syrup: Bring sugar and water to a simmer stirring to dissolve sugar. Turn off heat and add anise pod, tarragon, lemon peel and pepper. Turn off the heat and let steep for 30 min. Strain into a clean glass jar or bottle.