Flipping the bird

About a month ago, Gary Regan devoted his SF Chron column to examining the intersection of food and beverage. I’m not talking about pairings, but instead food as an ingredient in cocktails. The technique of fat washing is an example of what I mean: you take some bacon, for example, and steep it in bourbon for a while. Remove it, fine strain out the solids, and then freeze the bourbon. The spirit itself won’t freeze, but the fat that’s suspended within it will rise to the top, which makes it easy to remove and discard–or reuse, I suppose, if you’d like some bourbon-flavored lard for any reason. Think about chilling a chicken stock after you’ve made it; same thing happens with stock that happens with bourbon.

Canary FlipNow, Gary went on to describe something that isn’t really much like fat washing at all; in fact, it was such an abrupt segue that I think it didn’t really belong in that particular column. What he described was a drink called the Canary Flip, a drink created by a Brisbane bartender. A flip, if you don’t know, is a drink made by shaking up your drink ingredients with a whole egg. Flips were common in colonial times, but today, only cocktail geeks like me seem to make them anymore.

Shame, that. I mixed up the Canary Flip recently, and Jen and I loved it. It was a good use for Fernet Branca, a bitter Italian aperitif that many drink straight. I can’t really stand it on its own, but it’s good in cocktails, when it’s in balance with the other flavors. It’s absolutely perfect in the Canary Flip. In this drink, it’s mixed up with Chartreuse, cognac, simple syrup, and the aforementioned egg. The result is a delightfully complex drink, herbal, rich, and creamy. It’s not at all cloying and it has a wonderful mouthfeel. This one’s a keeper!

Canary Flip

Makes 1 drink

Adapted from a recipe by Nicholas Edwards, the Lark, Brisbane, Australia.

  • 1 ounce yellow Chartreuse
  • 1 ounce Courvoisier V.S. Cognac
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Fernet Branca
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon twist, as garnish

Instructions: Fill a cocktail shaker with yellow Chartreuse, Cognac, simple syrup, Fernet Branca and egg. Shake without ice for 10 seconds to emulsify the egg. Add ice, shake and strain into a chilled sherry glass. Add the lemon twist garnish.


5 thoughts on “Flipping the bird

  1. This flip is absolutely wonderful and was a hit at my last holiday cocktail party. I even had to send someone out to buy more eggs. I wanted to mention a small change I’ve made. I don’t garnish it with a lemon peel. Instead, I’ve taken a pump atomizer filled with angostura bitters and spritzed the top of the drink with the bitters. If you only lightly pump up the atomizer you can get a nice fine spotty pattern all over the top, which makes it look like a spotted egg (yellow with small brown dots all over). I think this presentation looks fantastic, adds a light aroma of bitters when brought to your nose and lightly adds another flavor compound to the drink. That and when people saw me spritz it, they all went, “ooh!” 🙂


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