The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Finding Your Flip

Posted on | June 18, 2015 | Written by Julia Punj | No Comments

julia flipThe history behind the Flip, a class of cocktails that incorporate whole eggs to create velvety smooth drinks, is as interesting as the drink itself. First developed in 1690 to be served on board merchant vessels at sea, the original drink was a blend of beer, rum, a sugar (usually molasses), and an egg, mixed and heated with a red-hot poker. The makers called the drink a flip either because the hot iron was called a “flip-dog”,or because the heat from the iron caused the drink to flip and froth. The recipe for the drink changed according to tavern, country, and century, but the basic principles still apply today: the structure behind a flip is a spirit base, sweetener, a bit of spice (usually nutmeg) with a whole egg. To give you an idea of the range of interpretations, Jerry Thomas’s 1862 cocktail guide offers no fewer than a dozen flip recipes, both cold and hot.

These days, few bartenders keep hot pokers behind the bar, so there are alternatives to create the frothy head. Jerry Thomas gives us wise advice for any flip maker, saying, “the essential in flips of all sorts is to produce the smoothness by repeated pouring back and forward between two vessels, and beating up the eggs well in the first instance; the sweeting and spices according to taste.” His original recipe for a Run Flip calls for 1 gill of run, a pint of ale and a whole egg. Today we use shakers, and when making a flip you must to shake as hard and fast as you can. By shaking vigorously, you are not only making the drink cold; you are also frothing the egg.

Contemporary Flips run the spirit spectrum. Gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey can appear in fun, exciting Flips. I recently judged a cocktail competition featuring Stranahan’s Whiskey. The runner-up was a Stranahan’s Whiskey Flip that featured honey, goat cheese, a whole egg and flaming absinthe. However, you can also turn your favorite basic cocktails into flips. Simply adding an egg, maybe some crème, and a bit of bitters or spice can create a unique drink. The Negroni is a fantastic cocktail to “Flip.” Simply use the Classic Negroni recipe, add a whole egg, and shake until your arm screams.

A Flip that most Americans will recognize is eggnog. The distinction between a Flip and eggnog is a slight: eggnog has all the ingredients of a flip with the addition of cream. The basic eggnog recipe (which dates back a few hundred years) is basically a Flip with cream and nutmeg. For an interesting change around the holiday, a bourbon flip can easily substitute for your standard eggnog.

Another drink I’ve discovered is the Aperol Flip, which comes from “The Bubbly Bar” by Maria C Hunt. The drink is light and pretty with a low ABV. It’s a great pre-dinner drink or patio sipper. I’ve included recipes for both this drink and some of my favorite Flip variations below. Next time you are in the mood to create a hearty and delicious drink, I suggest you try your hand at a “Flipping” your favorite spirit or cocktail. It’s a workout and a reward, all in one frothy glass.


Pour the ingredients for each of these cocktails into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for a lot longer than you want to. Then strain and serve in the glassware of your choice.

Aperol Flip “The Bubbly Bar” by Maria C Hunt.

1 oz Aperol

½ oz juiced lemon

½ agave nectar

½ oz pasteurized egg white

2 oz brut Champagne.


Eggnog Harry Johnsons Bartenders Manual

1 Fresh Egg

3.4 Tablespoon of sugar

1/3 glass of ice

1 pony glass St. Croix or Jamaican Rum

1 wine glass full of brandy

“Fill the Glass with rich milk; shake or stir with a spoon the ingredients well together, and strain into a large bar glass; grate a little nutmeg on top, and serve.”


Bourbon Flip

2 oz Bourbon

1 whole egg

1 tsp sugar

½ oz cream

Grated nutmeg


Stranahan’s Flip Alex Guevara, Jimmy’s Bodega Aspen

1.5 oz Stranahan’s Whiskey

.75 oz Woody Creek Pear Brandy

.5 oz honey simple syrup

1 whole egg

1.5 barspoon tart goat cheese

2 dashes pimento bitters

Flamed absinthe

Pear peel garnish candied with nutmeg


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