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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. One egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

  1. Salmonella can only be present on the outer shell of an egg.
  2. The FDA states that the frequency of Salmonella on an egg is one in twenty thousand.
  3. It takes 3-5 weeks for the Salmonella bacteria to develop on the outer shell of an egg.
  4. Salmonella targets sick, pregnant, very old, and very young people.
  5. Eggs have a lower incidence of Salmonella than lettuce or tomatoes, yet we eat both of those raw on a regular basis.
  6. 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.