Are “Unfashionable” Cocktails Become the New Thing?
In many of the world’s trendy markets like those found in big cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Paris and London, cocktails suffered a bit of a decline in the last couple of decades as bar and pub patrons took to drinking high-quality beers, wines, and scotch whiskies while out for a night on the town. However, in the past few years, customers and clientele are demanding a wider range of alcoholic beverages, and in response, many bartenders have gone back to the industry’s 1920’s roots and have been bringing back classic cocktails and inventing new drinks with modern twists.
However, while there were a few cocktails that were very popular between the 1930’s and 1960’s, they have almost dropped off the map of alcoholic beverages and have only been slowly creeping back in to cocktail bar menu lists. The reason? The drinks either contain raw eggs or heavy cream, two ingredients that North Americans have grown averse to due to health or weight-gain concerns.
Raw Eggs and Heavy Cream: pros and cons
Raw egg white, when added to a cocktail, adds another flavour and texture dimension and can transform a mediocre drink into a velvety-smooth, frothy flavour explosion. Egg whites also act as an emulsifier: when all ingredients of an egg white-based cocktail are shaken together and strained, the egg white brings all of the flavours together, beautifully melded and making the drink much greater than the mere sum of its parts.
Heavy cream also ties ingredients together well, and gives cocktails a smooth, dense, almost dessert-like character. Classic and still popular cocktails like the White Russian, the Paralyzer, and the Brandy Alexander were originally made with heavy cream, but are now made with whole-fat or even partially skimmed milk.
Do raw eggs = food poisoning?
Raw egg whites have gained a bad rap over the years because they can apparently contain the salmonella virus, meaning that if you eat a raw egg, you can get food poisoning. Many health inspectors will not allow cocktails to be made with raw eggs; however, in most cases this doesn’t really present a problem because of public perception that raw eggs are bad for you. The truth of the matter, however, is slightly different. While most people think that all eggs are potentially salmonella-laden, only one in 20,000 eggs will contain the germ. Some bars in New York City have picked up on this fact and have started to slowly introduce the old-fashioned egg-based cocktails in their drink lists, and health departments will allow the use of the eggs as long as the customer is made aware of the fact the drink contains raw egg.
Calorie-packed heavy cream
Heavy cream is packed with calories, making it an ingredient that most people don’t like and in the past twenty or so years, because so many clients asked for milk in the drinks instead of cream, it became standard practice for bars, pubs and restaurants to use milk as the standard creamy-drink ingredient. The result is that delicious, sinfully rich and delightful “indulgence” cocktails became thin, reedy ghosts of their former selves. Higher-end bars have started to buck the “Skim Milk Paralyser” trends and have also gone back to the original, luxuriously creamy recipes for their cocktails.
The Drinks Making a Comeback
While these drinks may not be on everyone’s “hit list”, some people from the older generation will recognize them as staples of the industry, and younger adults might see these on the drink lists of higher-end drinking and eating establishments. Here are the egg-based and heavy-cream based drinks that are making a comeback.
The Pink Lady
Known as the ultimate genteel, girly-drink for decades, genteel and “girly” women knew that this drink packed a punch that is just as powerful as any “macho” cocktail. The egg white in this recipe gives the drink its famed bubbly foam on top and fabulous textures, ensuring that the Pink Lady will reign supreme once again.
1 martini or cocktail glass
1 egg white
1.5 ounces gin
1.2 ounce applejack or sour apple liqueur
1 tablespoon grenadine
1 splash lemon juice
1 maraschino cherry for garnish
Shake all of the ingredients except for the maraschino cherry in a cocktail shaker that is full of ice. Because the drink contains an egg white, remember to shake the drink longer and more vigorously than you would for a regular cocktail. Strain the liquid into the martini glass, and garnish with the maraschino cherry.
The Ramos Gin Fizz
Developed in Prohibition-era New Orleans, this drink is making such a strong comeback that people are attempting to make it at home. The sad thing is, they are failing to make good gin fizzes; this is because one must shake the drink in the cocktail shaker for a full five minutes in order for the egg to emulsify. Here is how it’s made:
1 Collins glass or champagne flute
2 ounces gin
1 ounce cream
1 fresh egg white
3 drops orange flower water
1/2 ounce sugar syrup (sugar dissolved in water)
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 orange slice for garnish
Put all ingredients in except the club soda in a cocktail shaker that’s full of ice. Shake everything for about five minutes. Strain and pour into a tall glass, and top up with club soda.
The humble Flip is making people go flipping crazy because it combines the two ingredients: an egg and heavy cream. Flipping delicious, and different varieties can be made by simply changing the liquor used.
1 wine glass
2 ounces of desired liquor (brandy, sherry, port, rum, spiced rum, vodka but DO NOT USE TEQUILA)
1 teaspoon of fine granulated white sugar
½ ounce heavy cream
Freshly ground nutmeg
In a cocktail shaker full of ice, add all of the ingredients except the nutmeg and shake well for a long time, at least a few minutes. Strain and pour into the glass, and garnish with a slight dusting of nutmeg to give a warm spicy touch.
Last but not least on our list of cocktails that look like they’ll be making a comeback is the famous Grasshopper. The bright green, rich and creamy drink was a common sight in cocktail lounges until sometime in the 1980’s; the Grasshopper is simply too good to die.
1 martini or cocktail glass
1 ounce white crème de cacao
1 ounce green crème de menthe (do not use Minttu or Koskenkorva because they are clear and a grasshopper must be bright green in colour)
1 ounce heavy cream (do not use milk)
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker that’s full of ice, shake well, strain and pour into the martini glass.