I have written before about the joys of taking — every once in a while — a morning drink. I have also written before about the joys of using egg whites in cocktails. In both cases, a certain segment of the readership has taken me to task, pointing out that theoretical slippery slope of a stiff drink in the morning as well as the potential risk of salmonella in raw egg whites.
Since this week I am recommending a drink called the Morning Glory Fizz, which involves both raw eggs and the morning consumption of absinthe, I invite these same readers to, once again, post their indignation in the comments section. Hey, that’s why we have it.
For the rest of you who are less squeamish, below is the recipe for a lovely, frothy Morning Glory Fizz, which takes a bit of skill, fresh ingredients and a nice scotch or rye whiskey. Oh, and absinthe. When a recipe calls for egg whites, it’s always best to give the whites, the citrus and the spirits a quick “dry shake” first, allowing the ingredients to integrate, before adding the ice to finish the job.
So why use eggs in cocktails anyway? Egg whites act as a great binding agent and create a wonderful frothy top, giving the drink a richer feel. Using egg whites is better than the packaged “sour mixes,” and fresh eggs are superior to pasteurized eggs, which often give a stinky, nasty aroma in the glass.
But using raw egg whites in cocktails is always a flashpoint. A couple of years ago, when the cocktail renaissance was in full swing, the New York City Department of Health cracked down on cracking eggs behind the bar, fining watering holes that had egg-white drinks on their menus.
Now, salmonella is no laughing matter, but the reality is that the odds of encountering the bacteria are almost infinitesimal. You’re about four times more likely to choke on your morning bacon than to get salmonella poisoning, according to statistics from the National Safety Council. Add in the fact that lime or lemon juice (with its citric acid) is usually mixed with egg whites as well as 80- to 100-proof spirits — both of which may have a neutralizing effect on the bacteria — and the risk is further lessened. If you do choose to use real egg whites, it’s always best to choose fresh, even organic eggs. And of course, if you’re still worried, there’s always pasteurized eggs.
The Morning Glory Fizz is what mid-20th-century cocktail historian David Embury called “a grand picker-upper for the morning after.” Though it makes many uneasy, there was a long tradition in America of drinks that were variously called “corpse revivers” or “mustache twisters” or “fog cutters.” Of course, this was before Prohibition. These drinks were enjoyed so much (perhaps too much) by the workforce that we can see why a temperance movement arose in the first place.
These days, morning drinks are mostly seen at weekend brunches, where we’re now mainly served mimosas made of cheap champagne and store-bought orange juice, or maybe a bloody mary made from a commercially bottled mix. The Morning Glory is a far cry from those desultory offerings.
The original Morning Glory Fizz calls for scotch, but Spirits columnist Jason Wilson finds that it works with rye whiskey as well as Irish whiskey. With cocktails calling for egg whites, it’s best to do a “dry shake” first before adding ice. Use a pasteurized egg white if you are concerned about eating uncooked eggs (see NOTES).
* 1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
* 1/2 ounce simple syrup (see NOTES)
* 1 large egg white (see NOTES)
* 1/2 ounce absinthe
* 3 ounces scotch or rye whiskey
Combine the lemon and lime juices, simple syrup, egg white, absinthe and scotch or rye whiskey in a cocktail shaker. Shake well, then add the ice; shake until fully chilled. Strain into chilled cocktail (martini) glasses.
NOTES: To make simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a slow rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof container and let cool to room temperature.
Raw eggs carry a risk of salmonella. Organic pasteurized egg whites are available at Balducci’s stores, and pasteurized eggs are available at Harris Teeter stores.