December 16, 2009

Happy Hour: Flip Out

by Payman Bahmani

Bourbon Ginger Flip

At some point very soon you’ll feel like you’ve filled your noggin with too much nog from all the holiday parties throughout the month. Before you reach the point where the three letter word ‘egg’ begins to conjure four letter word thoughts, I’d like to share with you a few recipes for delicious egg-based relatives of the classic Egg Nog that are just as appropriate during this time of year, but involve less than a tenth of the labor. You won’t need a blender and you won’t have to separate and beat egg whites until your arm falls off. All you’ll need is your trusty shaker and strainer to make these drinks. What’s more, you won’t have to throw a party and invite guests to have an excuse to make them, because the recipes are for individual portions. This should certainly please you holiday hermits and Scrooges out there.

Folks I’m talking about the Flip, a category of egg-based mixed drinks that were hugely popular at one point in American history, the 19th century to be exact. You see, before there was the Flipmode Squad, there was a squad of talented American bartenders (led by the preeminent Jerry Thomas) who mixed Flips to the delight of their patrons. So popular in fact were these eggy elixirs that they appear to have been the original Breakfast of Champions; long before coffee ruled the day’s early hours, Americans preferred to kickstart their day with an egg-based tipple or few. It’s no wonder the turn of the century temperance movement gained enough steam to initiate Prohibition.

Initially Flips were made simply of sugar, ale, and rum, and heated by taking a hot iron from the fire and inserting it in the cup until it frothed. Eventually with the help of the aforementioned Godfather of Mixology, Jerry Thomas, egg found its way in the drink along with ice, and a cocktail shaker replaced the hot poker–with the shaken egg being of course the critical froth-producing element in the drink.

I view the Flip as essentially a downsized Egg Nog. I say that not so much as a statement of official mixological taxonomy, but rather as a practical observation of a few differences between the two drinks. The primary difference has less to do with the ingredients as it does with the preparation of those ingredients. With the exception of cream, most Flips require the same cast of characters as an Egg Nog: egg, sugar, spirit, nutmeg.

However whereas Egg Nog recipes usually require the multiple steps of separating the whites and yolks, beating the yolks with the sugar before adding the spirit and cream, then beating the whites until stiff before finally folding in the whites with the yolk mixture, the Flip is a relatively hassle-free affair because it requires none of that. Simply combine all the ingredients with ice in a shaker and shake away. That’s it. Although it can get a little (or a lot) more fancier from there, at its core it retains that simplicity of process.

Bourbon Ginger Flip (pictured at top)
1 1/2 oz Bourbon
1/2 oz Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
1/2 oz rum cream liqueur (basically a rum version of Baileys)
1 tsp caster sugar (or simple syrup)
1 egg (can’t beat farm fresh eggs with their rich yellow yolks if you can get ‘em)
nutmeg and powdered ginger to top

Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail or flip glass

Dissolve the sugar with the liquor in a cocktail shaker. Crack the egg in there and dry shake (meaning without ice) for about 20-30 seconds. Add ice and shake vigorously again until shaker is nice and frosty. Strain into your glass and top with a bit of powdered ginger (go easy) and grated nutmeg.

You don’t have to dry shake if you don’t want to, but I like it because it produces a slightly richer froth. You can also double strain if you like, in order to catch any stray ice pieces from ending in the final product, and I do it based on my mood at the moment. Again it’s not critical unless you’re looking for the cleanest looking final product.

For the rum cream I used Crisma brand, which is made in Barbados and nearly impossible to find outside the island. However Cruzan makes a decent product as well.

Rum Apricot Flip

Rum Apricot Flip (above)
1 1/2 oz aged rum
3/4 oz apricot brandy (Rothman & Winter is great if you can get it)
1 tsp caster sugar (or simple syrup)
1 egg
nutmeg to top

Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail or flip glass

As with the first recipe, dissolve sugar in the spirits before adding the egg and either dry shake or not, per your preference. Strain into your glass and top with a bit of grated nutmeg.

Jupiter's Flip

Jupiter’s Flip*
1 oz absinthe
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp caster sugar (or simple syrup)
1 egg
Peychaud’s bitters

Tools: shaker, strainer, toothpick
Glass: cocktail or flip glass

You know the drill by now, except this time after you strain into your glass, place a few drops of Peychaud’s bitters on the top of the drink; then take a toothpick or equivalent tool and lightly whisk around the bitters to simulate Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

*This drink is the result of years of extensive collaborative research with NASA’s special Intergalactic Moon-Based Initiative for Booze Exploration (I.M.B.I.B.E.), and is best served in zero-gravity conditions. Moon boots and space suits not required.

As you can easily see from the above recipes, making a Flip does not involve nearly the same exhaustive procedures as making Egg Nog. The greater effort level in making Egg Nog is probably what makes it more sensible to serve to a large group, which conversely makes the Flip so suitable for solo or small-group imbibing.

Flips are also fantastic for you procrastinators out there. Whereas good Egg Nogs often require a few hours of advanced refrigeration to enable the flavors and spices to mingle and become well-acquainted, the ingredients in a Flip on the other hand only get the equivalent of a speed date before they have to get down to business.

Hopefully these recipes provide a glimpse into the myriad of different directions you can take a Flip, so you can take a breather from the gluey store-bought Egg Nogs you’re probably used to being served at every holiday party this season. However if you’re interested in actually making a good traditional Egg Nog you can check out this really tasty recipe here.

Hang in there soldier, you’re almost at the finish line! As for me, I think I’m going to have the Breakfast of Champions–the throwback kind.

Got a cocktail question? Hit me on twitter @paystyle, email me at payman(at)lifesacocktail(dot)com, or simply drop me a comment below!

Paystyle was born in Tehran and grew up in Los Angeles (aka Tehrangeles) before moving to Brooklyn with his wife and co-pilot Vanessa Bahmani who provides the stunning photography of Pay’s concoctions. Return every Wednesday for his weekly Happy Hour column.

3 Comments

  • lostpastremembered
    Posted December 17, 2009 at 4:54 am

    I've been working my way through the lexicon of drinks with serious history behind them… haven't gotten to the flip yet… sounds delicious…thanks!

  • Vanessa Bahmani
    Posted December 17, 2009 at 7:26 am

    I really want to have another Jupiter's Flip, but this time I'll be wearing my Moon boots and space suit!

  • Paystyle
    Posted December 17, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Yes, the Flip is definitely a chapter worth visiting in the annals of cocktails, and you have all winter to do it–so get cracking!

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