Raw eggs in booze are traditional, safe and delicious | Drink | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Raw eggs in booze are traditional, safe and delicious

How about a flip, or a Pisco Sour?

Sunday is Easter, which means stockpiles of plastic grass, chocolate bunnies and, of course, eggs. Most of them will be garishly dyed and turned into way more egg salad than anyone could possibly want. But if you happen to have a few left unboiled, you can add some serious depth to your cocktail game.

I've encountered my share of skeptical (read: utterly disgusted) looks when introducing people to eggy cocktails. And I'll admit that shimmying a mucousy egg white into a shaker of bourbon does set off all sorts of alarms. But here are three good reasons to do it anyway.

For one, people have been mixing eggs and booze for centuries. Flips, a loose category of drinks made from some combination of spirits, sugar, beer and eggs, were all the rage in colonial taverns. Often served warm, a flip was surely the most efficient drink around. What else could fill your belly, shake off the chill and get you buzzed, all at once?

Secondly, raw eggs present a minimal risk when handled properly. When using eggs in cocktails, follow the same precautions you would for making mayonnaise or frying up a dippy egg. Get the freshest eggs you can find, keep them cold and use them quickly. Populations with compromised immune systems, including children, pregnant women and people who are ill, should avoid raw eggs. Of course, those folks ought to be avoiding eggless cocktails as well.

Finally — and this is the most compelling argument of all — egg drinks are awesome. Egg whites impart a silky, frothy texture, while whole eggs make for decidedly indulgent drinks. The Pisco Sour is a great warm-weather cocktail that showcases the power of eggs. The egg white gives the basic sour some body and rounds out the grape brandy's sharp edges. Mix one up, and suddenly the need to extract all that Easter grass from the vacuum cleaner won't seem so bad.