Proposed by: David
Reviewed by: Jonathan
First, confession: I’ve really no right to call this drink a “flip” because technically it isn’t. A flip includes spirits, sugar, no milk or cream (which would make it egg nog) and, most importantly, an entire egg. I’m only using the white, meaning this cocktail might be called a “fizz.”
However, I’ll keep the name because the modern flip is nothing like the original flip that, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, first appears in print in 1685. That flip had no eggs and included rum, and sugar, and beer. It required submerging a red hot poker in the cup. So, technically, no flip is a true flip. Mine is no less true than any other. So there.
I could use a whole egg. I’ve seen Rocky, so I shouldn’t be afraid. But the essential element of an egg white cocktail is breaking up their proteins by shaking them until they accommodate moisture and air. In less scientific, more gastronomical terms, the white adds a little body and airiness. The fat in a yolk adds gravity, weight, making a drink rich and smooth. That may sound good, but people get squeamish enough about an egg white, and, well, I have seen Rocky.
Some sites split flips into royals (using the entire egg), goldens (yolk only), and silvers (egg whites), so I suppose I could call this cocktail a “Silver Rum Maple Flip,” but that’s too long and my artistic side doesn’t like the clashing colors.
Flips were revived from historical obscurity by Jerry Thomas’ 1862 work, How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant’s Companion. He was first to add egg, suggest a flip could be cold, and create variation with different spirits. In recent years, flips have appeared all over the web and, were you to ask for one in a bar, the bar tender might not look at you strangely… just ask you if you’re sure. You might expect some beer, however, as many flips are beer cocktails.
My version of the flip eschews beer but adds a couple of crucial secondary ingredients, sherry to echo the aged rum, and maple syrup as the sweetener. I hoped to create something not quite holiday-y and yet wintery. I hoped to convince my wife egg whites are okay and add something interesting and important.
2 oz. aged rum
1 oz. medium dry sherry
.5 oz. maple syrup
1 egg white
nutmeg for garnish
Separate the egg white, discard the yolk. Shake the egg white by itself until frothy (30-60 seconds), then add ice and all the other ingredients except nutmeg, shake again. Then strain the drink into a martini or coupe glass and dust very lightly with nutmeg. Serve.
Cocktail history is fun. Forbearers and legacies, early incarnations and current renovations lend each drink distinctive character but, whatever they’re called, you hope they taste good.
The week began with an internet search on how to use raw eggs safely in drinks. Even with the realization that a large part of this blog is our desire to try new things, it was still a little disconcerting to use them in a cocktail. The information that is available, though, not only made it seem reasonable but added to the intrigue and interest in the proposed drink.
This is not our first drink to use rum, or a variation, in a cocktail which left white rum, dark rum, British/Naval rum or cachaca as choices already available in my expanding bar. That in mind the recipe called for aged rum so I used that as an excuse to add to the collection when I picked up the medium dry sherry. It seems fairly subtle but that choice really made a difference.
One of the challenges of using raw eggs is the multiple steps to building a cocktail. First there is a dry shake with just the egg, or in some recipes the egg and all other ingredients. This recipe called for the former, then a shake with all liquids, and finally with ice before straining into the glass. That was all well and good for the first one I made, but with the second the freshly washed shaker decided to fly out of my hands just as I was finishing. The result was a kitchen sprayed with cocktail that my wife was nice enough to clean as I not so happily prepared another.
The final product was well worth all of that tribulation. The complex mix of the aged rum, sherry and maple was completely unique among the cocktails that we have tried. During my research on using raw eggs I had read that some mixologists eschew using eggs as being lazy in building a drink with body, but I don’t know how else you could create that combination of a drink being thick yet light. The final touch that really added to the drink was the slight spice of the grated nutmeg. It worked as much for the initial aroma as it did a taste element.
Jonathan’s take: Body, taste and spice all worked to provide a cocktail unlike any other I have ever tried. It didn’t seem possible while building it, but this one is more than worth the effort required.
David’s take: If no one said, “Hey, there’s an uncooked egg white in this drink.” I might not know or worry. Sometimes we just have say, “What? Me worry?”
Next week (proposed by Jonathan):
Not to sound too much like Martha Stewart (a cocktail aficionado in her own right), but this week’s proposal could have the added benefit of being options for homemade Christmas gifts if they work. The idea is to create three infused vodkas to drink alone or as part of a cocktail. I’ve suggested to David that we both try three combinations: vanilla bean/cardamom, chipotle/orange and a wild card for each of us to choose. The final part of this proposal is that we each need to create a cocktail using one of our vodkas.