Well, I’m finally sitting down to write about my Flip making adventure over Christmas. For those of you that are not familiar with the drink (it was new to me when I first read about it), Randy Mosher in “Tasting Beer” describes this precursor to eggnog as a “yard of flannel, which is a reference to the long, smooth stream formed by the creamy liquid as it was poured back and forth between two vessels”.

Set on making a successful recreation of this historic drink, I brought the ingredients down to my mother-in-law’s house on Christmas. The ingredient list looked something like this:

– 1 qt Strong Ale (Oskar Blue’s Old Chub Scottish Strong Ale)

– 2 oz rum (I used whiskey)

– 4 tbl brown sugar

– piece of cinnamon

– 2 cloves

– Lemon zest

– 4 eggs

– Hot Poker

Prior to modern indoor heating people often relied on hot drinks to stay warm during the cold months. While this might seem obvious, it was surprising to see the blurring of food and drink that used to occur first hand. Mosher further explained that, ” people tended to load up their brews with toast, oatmeal, eggs, cream, fruit, and more.”

Reinheitsgebot? Purity laws? Not in America!

Back to the ingredient list… yes, that is a HOT POKER. The most fun and arguably most necessary part of the Flip making process is the final step of plunging a hot poker into the drink, making it boil and producing caramelized, smokey flavors from the inside out.  The rest of the Flip making process is straightforward and involves combining the ingredients in a sauce pan, simmering, and gradually adding the four beaten eggs into the mixture. Oh, and of course, do not forgot to “beat furiously until foamy”.

When it came time to preform the grand finale (aka hot poker step), the family gathered around as my father-in-law kept the poker stoked. With baited breath, we wasted no time channeling the spirit of our american settler ancestors and thrust the hot poker into the frothy mix. It sizzled and either angrily simmered or politely boiled, I wasn’t sure which. It seem anti-climatic compared to the “violent boil” I was promised by Mosher. Even then, it was still great and brought the family together for some unexpected holiday excitement.

Seeing how our hot poker to liquid ratio was off, I’m not sure the final product was all that accurate. The drink could most literally be described as tiny egg chunks floating in a dull rusty (aka pukey) spiced egg/beer/whiskey blend. Not as horrible as it sounds (unless you hate any of those three things), but not the creamy goodness I was hoping for. Well, there’s always next year!



PS. Thank you Mom for lending my the hot poker from your fireplace.

PPS. I found more detail on the history of Flip in america here: http://www.2020site.org/drinks/flip.html

About John Rockwell

John Rockwell is a co-founder of LA Ale Works and contributing writer to Bierkast. He has been home brewing for over seven years and is a certified BJCP judge, "Bring me your beer!".

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