WASHINGTON, DC—This holiday season and beyond, a classic cocktail renaissance is inspiring the modern bartender to revisit a long-lost ingredient: the raw egg. Universally accepted during the holidays as a component to creating fresh eggnog, the egg was once commonly used as an element in a whole category of classic cocktails such as fizzes, flips and pickups. With old standards like these making a comeback, the egg is getting a second crack.
Egg whites act as a great binding agent and create a distinct froth. The most creative bartenders are inventing new uses for the egg in drink recipes – infusing the whites with fruit syrups and floating them on top of drinks or zealously shaking them into modern day Fizzes and Sours.
The recently launched book, “Imbibe!” by David Wondrich, chronicles the life of bartending pioneer Jerry Thomas, and it includes many recipes calling for the use of raw eggs. “In Jerry Thomas’ capable hands, mixology was an exacting science, one that scorned to work with second-rate materials and tolerated no short cuts,” says Wondrich. It is this sentiment that is prompting the modern mixologist to explore traditional methods and to use fresh ingredients. The book was recently reviewed in a feature by William Grimes in The New York Times and the article can be found at www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/dining/31cock.html.
While the raw egg idea might make some squirm, it seems the trendsetters are on board: Those who order the Ramos Fizz at Audrey Saunders’ Pegu Club in Manhattan are immediately informed that it will take a while. Bartenders are then employed to endlessly shake the raw egg-white mixture to create the rich foam that makes this drink so unique. Julie Reiner, who is opening “The Clover Club” in Brooklyn in mid-December, has named the establishment after the classic raw egg cocktail and will be serving several variations of egg-based drinks.
At Eastern Standard in Boston, Bar Manager Jackson Cannon is passionate about the resurgence of this trend and an entire section of his bar menu is devoted to the infamous “oeuf.” Cannon says, “People get intrigued when they see us start to crack open the eggs into our cocktail shakers. We are not re-inventing the wheel as much as leading people into a re-discovery of the wheel.” And that seems to excite the country’s growing faction of cocktail connoisseurs.
While the FDA recommendation is to avoid raw eggs, the actual risk of eggs contaminated with Salmonella is relatively minimal. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 in 20,000 eggs in the U.S. supply will contain the Salmonella bacteria. To avoid the risk all together, the FDA suggests substituting pasteurized shell eggs that can be found in most grocery stores located next to the regular shell eggs. As an alternative, these recipes can also be made with powdered egg whites.
Instead of making eggnog when entertaining at home this holiday season, break out these inventive variations of classic cocktails. Following are egg-based recipes from the country’s most innovative mixologists that are sure to shake things up:
Le Grande Flip (brandy) by Jackson Cannon of Eastern Standard in Boston
1 oz. apple brandy
½ oz. Benedictine
½ oz. Orange Juice
One whole Egg
bar spoon of sugar
Shake all together over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a twist of orange.
Sour Cherry Fizz (single malt) – from Julie Riener of The Clover Club in Brooklyn, New York
1 ½ oz single malt scotch
¾ oz Sour Cherry Puree
¾ oz Lemon juice
1 egg white
Shake and strain over fresh ice in a collins glass
Top with Cherry Soda (clear)
Garnish with 2 cherries on a pick laying across the top of the glass
Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve
Marmalade Sour from Jamie Voudreau at Vessel in Seattle
1 ½ oz Cachaca
½ oz lemon juice
Splash of simple syrup
2 dashes orange bitters
½ egg white
I tablespoon of orange, citrus, grapefruit, low sugar marmalade
Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Tom & Jerry (rum) by Jerry Thomas from Imbibe! By David Wondrich
1 oz of cognac
½ oz of dark rum
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
Separate 1 egg. Beat the yolk with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon dark, heavy-bodied rum. Separately, beat the white until it sustains stiff peaks. Fold the white into the yolk. To serve, put this batter into a pre-heated mug, add 1 oz cognac and 1/2 oz dark rum (as above), top with hot milk and grate nutmeg over the top.
Ramos Fizz (Pegu House Recipe) from Audrey Saunders at Pegu Club in NYC
1 ¼ oz Gin
½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
1 oz Heavy Cream
1 small egg white
4 drops of Orange Flower Water
Shake all ingredients with ice except the soda and strain into a 12 oz Collins glass that is filled with 2 ice cubes. Top with 1 oz of club soda and dash top of drink w/ 3-4 dashes Cardamom tincture
To Prepare Cardamom tincture:
Add ½ oz cracked cardamom to 8 oz vodka. Allow to steep until cardamom
flavor develops. Strain off solids, and funnel into a clean dropper bottle. Use 3-4 dashes for the cocktail and store the rest for future use.
Iron Cross from Tobey Maloney of The Violet Hour in Chicago
1 ½ oz Pisco
¾ oz Lemon Juice
¾ oz Simple Syrup
1 egg white
3 drops Orange Flower Water
3 dashes of Summer Bitters
Shake all ingredients (Shake without adding ice for 7 seconds to aerate the egg white. Makes a thicker, creamier meringue). Strain. Serve up.
Orange Marmalade Sour Fizz from Sean Beck at Backstreet Cafe in Houston
1 oz Bourbon
½ oz triple sec
1 heaping tablespoon of fresh made Orange Marmalade (Substitute Store bought for ease)
1 oz of lemon juice
Splash of simple syrup
2 dashes of Angostura bitters or West Indian Orange Bitters for a milder flavor
1 Egg White
Combine in a shaker and shake extremely well. Serve in an oversized bowl shaped Riedel Stemless Wine Glass with a bit of ice. Garnish with an orange twist in the glass.
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is a national trade association representing the leading brands of distilled spirits. Council member products include the full spectrum of quality distilled spirits such as Bourbon, Scotch and other whiskeys, vodka, gin, tequila, rum, brandy, cordials and liqueurs.
The distillers take special pride in their products as well as in their commitment to encourage responsible beverage alcohol consumption by adults who choose to drink. If you choose to drink, consume sensibly and responsibly. An important part of responsible drinking is understanding that a standard drink of regular beer (12 oz.), distilled spirits (1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits) and wine (5 oz.) each contains the same amount of alcohol.