So, I am accustomed to menus and books and poseurs throwing the word ‘cocktail’ around willy-nilly. It’s been going on a long time — since long before I was born.
But, when modern bar creatures throw around the surnames of other traditional drinks without any regard, or seeming awareness, for what those drinks were, it really bugs me.
Such is the case with Greg Henry’s recent book, Savory Cocktails. Besides continuing the British mistake of what constituted the American sling (hence the mis-named punch called Singapore ‘Sling’), Henry presents a drink called the Rhubarb Rosemary Flip. Of course, the drink is not a flip at all. It is just another sour-juice-laden punch with optional egg white in it. That would not have been called a flip in pre-prohibition, American mixology. O’ Henry, if you want to play tennis without a net and redefine flips as any type of drink to which any part of egg has been added, then the Whiskey Sour shall be a flip, too.
I am sure that the Rhubarb Rosemary drink in the book is good. It’s just not a flip. It should more-properly be called a Rhubarb Rosemary Punch or a Rhubarb Rosemary Fix.
Calf-foot jelly, egg whites and other relatively-flavorless thickeners have been added to properly-soured punches for at least 300 years. Only one flip that I can think of has any sour juice in it at all, the Bass Wyatt Flip, and that only has a barspoon (2.5 ml.) of lemon juice. Otherwise, flips have never had sour juice in them, and they always contain the whole egg.
I know, someone will ask what the big deal is. To me, anyone using the terms of traditional American mixology is asking to have any flaws in their understanding of it called out.