And just one more for day one

There seems to be so much to say!!

Mention of this is certainly necessary though.  Eggs. What is the problem with the damn eggs? I have taken to a new tactic when trying to skirt around the ‘oh, are you putting raw egg in my drink’ scenario. It seems to be working by appealing to their nostalgic side, but i find asking the guest ‘Did you ever lick the cake spoon when you were little?’ seems to be doing the trick for me. If -anyone else has any tips, feel free to write below. It’s a situation you can’t really avoid and can be tough to handle just right without practically forcing eggs down peoples throats.

If it says it on your menu, people may not choose that drink because of it (hard luck them!). You can’t put it in without them knowing as there are obvious allergy/pregnancy dah dah dah issues to content with. So it will inevitably come up if that person has so much as the slightest issue with the concept.

For those of you who might be reading this and wondering what the hell i’m on about, egg whites are a common ingredient in classic mixology and are widespread in the abundance of creations coming out daily across the globe. Commonly used in conjunction with citrus juices, the flavourless proteins in egg white get all jumbled up when u shake with the acid in the juice creating a wonderfully stable foam and texture which can really make or break a drink.

What caused me to bring this up when i should clearly be doing other things is that i happened upon a post over at Imbibe by stateside bartender, Naren Young. I was aware there was some sort of hoo-ha and humdrum going on regarding the Pegu Club but hadn’t heard the full story.

It appears that the Department of Health is cracking down on the cocktail scene of New York City for it’s flagrant use of unpasteurised eggs (the shock, the horror) and is on some sort of egg/witch hunt, even though the actual risk is ridiculously minimal compared to say, that of getting food poising through poorly maintained ice machines!

Minimal risk

So what about those salmonella risks? According to George Chang, food microbiologist and professor emeritus at UC Berkeley, “In studies of clean, intact eggs from modern egg factory facilities, less than 1 percent of the eggs contain detectable salmonella.”

The risk is even smaller with egg whites. As Lawrence Pong, principal health inspector and manager of food-borne illness outbreak investigations for the Department of Public Health in San Francisco explains, “Egg whites are alkaline in nature, and salmonella colonies cannot survive there.”

As Naren mentions on his blog, there will surely be some interesting  arguments on this so watch this space. If anyone has any expertise with regards to biology of eggs and the potential reasons for different legislation on storage, i’d be keen to hear from ya. In the meantime, check out Naren’s post.




4 Responses to “And just one more for day one”

  1. 1 Claire Benwell
    February 17, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Well Mr Clay I do recall having that egg conversation with you when I last saw you in Blush! I blame Edwina Curry for the concern re eggs! I can also vouch that the egg does indeed make a fine beverage 🙂

  2. 2 Mark Smalley
    February 18, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Eggs are indeed a tricky one but i very very rarely have people turning them down, yes they are always on the menu so i guess some people may not want that cocktail. It’s hard to be sure quite how many get put off by that little bit of text. I do get some people asking if i can leave the egg out and i do often throw an egg into a drink if someone has asked me to be a little more creative with them. I obviously will always make sure they are not allergic to eggs and as long as they give me the answer no, i immediatly start my convincing act which generally takes on a few of different arguements dependant on person

    1) The are, more often than not, worried about salmonella and other illnesses they have been warned about from raw eggs. My arguement for this is that with the alcohol content and the acidic content that is generally in a typical egg white drink helps to neatralise any bacteria in the egg.

    2) Sometimes they are worried about the taste. I explain that an egg white helps to give the drink a lovely foamy texture, it feels nice on the lips and it feels lovely and velvetty on the tongue and i explain that its not all that different to merangue in the sense that it is sugar and egg white all foamed up but without the crispyness.
    If its a yolk i will explain that it brings a wonderful creamy texture to the drink, thickens it up nicely whilst bringing a little bit of earthy flavour into the drink.

    3) If they seem like this might work, i will simply put the egg white into the drink and then look at them whilst i slide the egg yolk into my mouth and swollowing it hole.

    4) Simply showing confidence sometimes helps, stop what you are doing for a moment, look at them and simply say that if they dont like it, and a bartender can always tell the truth, then you will personally buy them a different drink but you would really like for them to try something a little different.

    One of these will always work in my experience, some people may not be overly keen and perhaps not order it with egg in again and many will adore it but the main thing for me is getting people to try something new and exciting because essentially thats what cocktails are. People have different tastes, ideas and expectations but deep down everyone likes cocktails (be them alcoholic or non alcoholic) and getting people excited and eager to taste drinks is a major part of bartending. Putting your honest enthusiasm across is the best way to sell anything!

  3. February 20, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    A note on eggs…. The issue at Pegu in NYC was related not to the fact that they are serving drinks with eggs but rather that the inspector was on the premises when the bartender served an egg drink without informing the guest either by listing egg as an ingredient on the menu or by telling him at the time of the order. Eggs are allowed in drinks in NYC but bars have to list them in the ingredients or inform the guest.

    For the squeamish guest my tactic was to describe the process of bathing the egg in acid (lemon/lime juice) and then inundating the egg in 80+ proof spirits. Still in some cases they are just freaked out by the fact that the eggs are raw… and those are the same people that hate oysters and clams on the halfshell and sadly there is no treatment for their particular malaise.

  4. February 20, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Those poor deluded souls! Thanks for shedding light on the issue Dale.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: