I love a good drink with an egg in it. This seems odd to some. Really, raw eggs in your drink? That seems gross. However, in William Grimes’s book, Straight Up or on the Rocks: The Story of the American Cocktail, he notes that using eggs in beverages is a practice that dates back to the late 1690’s. The flip, a weird combination of eggs, sugar, beer and rum, was the drink that introduced the egg as a vital component to a well crafted beverage. This practice remained a mainstay up until the prohibition era, but seemingly disappears afterwards. Why is this? Let’s take a look at some of the facts about eggs. First some of the health benefits.
- Eggs are great for the eyes. According to one study, an egg a day may prevent macular degeneraton due to the carotenoid content, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin. Both nutrients are more readily available to our bodies from eggs than from other sources.
- In another study, researchers found that people who eat eggs every day lower their risk of developing cataracts, also because of the lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs.
- One egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids.
- According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease. In fact, according to one study, regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks.
- They are a good source of choline. One egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline. Choline is an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.
- They contain the right kind of fat. One egg contains just 5 grams of fat and only 1.5 grams of that is saturated fat.
- Eggs are one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D.
Now many people have an unfounded fear of eggs due to the risk of Salmonella. However, this is a fairly unfounded fear. In fact, you have a better chance at dying due to drowning, slipping, choking, or being caught in a storm. Some facts about Salmonella and eggs.
- Salmonella can only be present on the outer shell of an egg.
- The FDA states that the frequency of Salmonella on an egg is one in twenty thousand.
- It takes 3-5 weeks for the Salmonella bacteria to develop on the outer shell of an egg.
- Salmonella targets sick, pregnant, very old, and very young people.
- Eggs have a lower incidence of Salmonella than lettuce or tomatoes, yet we eat both of those raw on a regular basis.
- An alcohol concentration of over 17.5% will kill the Salmonella bacterium.
So I think we can say that eggs are not the evil some say they are, and with proper storage and handling may be used as an integral ingredient in the barkeepers repertoire. So why would we want to include eggs in our beverages anyways? Well, an egg white added to a well made sour, can enhance the other flavors, as well as add texture in the form of a nice frothy foam. If you have every enjoyed a Ramos Gin Fizz, you have experienced that great ropy texture that only an egg can provide. Try making one without the egg, and you may as well be drinking milk spiked with gin and some citrus juice, it just doesn’t compare. I urge you to try a whiskey sour or a gin fizz with an egg and without, and then let me know which you like better. Cheers.
Besides having the world’s largest ice cream factory (which I am a huge fan of), the city of Bakersfield, California has made popular one of the forgotten cocktails, The Picon Punch. Picon Punch is the national drink of the Basque people, and there are enough of them in Bakersfield to make this drink the most popular cocktail in the city.
So what is Picon Punch? Well, it is based on the bitter orange spirit Amer Picon, which is pretty much impossible to obtain today apart from a quick flight to France. Currently owned by spirits giant Diageo, Amer Picon is not distributed in the US for some reason, and not only that, in the 70′s its proof was lowered from 78 to 39, resulting in a change in flavor. However fear not, as you currently have two options if you live here in North America.
First option: Make your own. It can be done, and apparently tastes almost exactly like the original Picon. Jamie Boudreau created this version called Amer Boudreau, and you can find all his info here.
Your next option is brought to you by the Torani syrup company. Yes, the same ones that make overly sweet and sugary additions for your morning latte. Ths version of Amer Picon, called Torani Amer, has a similar flavor and the same proof as the original Amer Picon. Still relatively hard to find (I got mine from Bevmo in California. It can also be found here and here.) this makes an excellent substitution for real Amer Picon.
Now on to the drink. The Picon Punch is an excellent apertif cocktail that will really open up your palate into trying and enjoying some of the more bitter cocktails.
1 tsp Grenadine
2 1/2 oz Amer Picon
1 oz Brandy
Up next we have the curiously named Blue Paradise cocktail, which was created by Belgian barman Emil Bauwens. I’m not really sure about the naming of his drinks, as it is not blue in any shape or form. The forgotten spirit in this particular drink is Parfait Amour.
Parfait Amour is a purple liqueur, usually created from a curacao base and flavored with rose petals, orange blossom, vanilla and almonds. While Parfait Amour is not too common, it is produced both by the House of Lucas Bols in the Netherlands, as well as Marie Brizard in France.
2 oz Cognac
1 oz Dubonnet Rouge
4 Dashes Parfait Amour
The next drink in my series, is the Pink Gin. This cocktail is a serious fireball. It contains only gin and bitters, and you had better be a fan of both if you are going to enjoy this drink. The secret to this drink is to use Plymouth gin. Plymouth is not a London Dry gin, and it’s style is a suitable backdrop for the Angostura Bitters.
For me, while the drink was ok, I felt as the spicy notes of the bitters didn’t come through quite enough. Even though I really like both gin and bitters, it was not a winner for me.
3 oz Plymouth Gin
6 dashes Angostura Bitters
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, due to some kitchen remodeling, world cup watching, bar building and general business. I’ll be trying to put up several posts this week, so stay tuned.
Up next in our Vintage Cocktails series is the Rose Cocktail. Hailing from the year 1920, this cocktail features a fortified wine base, accented with a dry cherry eau da vie and a dash of raspberry, which creates a great looking drink. The cherry and raspberry complement the vermouth nicely.
2 oz Dry Vermouth
1 oz Kirschwasser
1 tsp Raspberry Syrup