The Pour: The Flip

This centuries-old cocktail category offers the perfect libations for Edmonton winters.

Photography Dwayne Martineau

When it comes to cocktail categories, there are few as old as the flip. 

But, for such established drinks, flips are pretty unfamiliar to modern drinkers. So, what are they? 

Flips are drinks that include whole eggs, and they date back to the earliest days of mixed drinks. They first appeared as sailors’ drinks in England around the early 1600s. However, flips didn’t take long to arrive in the British colonies. By the 1600s, these rich concoctions had arrived in colonial taverns and were taking America by storm. But what flips were and what they’ve become are two slightly different things. 

In Colonial times, flips were warmer affairs. A mixture of ale, egg and sugar was stirred with a red-hot iron loggerhead, or “flip dog.” The cocktail would bubble and froth or “flip” as a result of the heat. Hence the name.

Note: Occasionally, patrons’ conversations would become similarly heated. When disputes broke out, some patrons would grab at the nearest means of resolving the issue, which happened to be the iron rods on the table. This is where we get the expression “to be at loggerheads.”  History – it’s fun!

Whether historical or modern, flips are a combination of spirits, sugar and a whole egg. In all their forms, flips are luxurious, thick, silky drinks. Keep in mind, however, that the richness of the egg will bury all but the strongest flavours – so when building a flip, reach for a bottle of Scotch or dark rum as opposed to a gin.

While ratios are largely up to you, two ounces of spirit, half an ounce of sweetener and a single egg are a tried-and-true arrangement. Shaking these drinks is a must, as the ingredients require some heavy encouragement to emulsify. Multiple eggs should be reserved for Rocky Balboa-style diets only. Big, bold baking spices work wonderfully with prominent spirits, and grated nutmeg is a common garnish for flips. These big, spicy flavours make flips the perfect drinks for colder months. 

With flips, as with any dish or drink that involves raw eggs, the risk of food-borne illness must be mentioned. While the risk of illness or contamination from raw eggs in a cocktail is extremely minimal, be aware.

But why end on such a down note? Instead, try out the recipe included. The elephant flip is a wonderful update to the classic flip formula. The bitter sweetness of the Ramazzotti Amaro is bolstered wonderfully by the float of India pale ale, and tempered by the sweet vanilla and molasses notes of bourbon and rum. The richness of the egg brings all the ingredients together into one rich, delightful package.

So the next time you’re looking for something rich on a cold night, give the carton of eggnog a pass and simply shake up a flip. You likely won’t go back.


Elephant Flip

Recipe by Christina Rando, The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. | Philadelphia 

1 oz. Ramazzotti Amaro

1/2 oz. Jamaican rum

1/2 oz. bourbon

1/2 oz. demerara syrup

1 tsp pomegranate molasses

1 dash angostura bitters

6 drops mole bitters

pinch salt

1 whole egg

a good, bitter IPA

Garnish: aromatic bitters, such as Bitter Truth


1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake.

2. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice and shake again.

3. Strain into a fizz glass and top with IPA.

4. Garnish with aromatic bitters.

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