Recently, I met a date at a favorite watering hole: Flatiron Lounge. I asked the bartender to make me a mocktail that I made-up: fresh ginger, lemon and honey. I’ve requested this many times at Flatiron Lounge, from different waistaff when I’ve brought date there or even way back when I brought authors there [not for a date silly, just to talk about their projects].
This last time was no different. Except it was a Sunday. And the joint was empty. So the bartender, maybe having some extra time on his hands, gave my drink something special: a head. Yes, my tall glass of ginger lemonade came with at least an inch of foam atop. I hadn’t’ seen that foamy business on my mocktail before but didn’t give much thought to it.
I sipped. Tasted OK. Not too sweet, a hint of fresh ginger and mint and a background sourness from the fresh lemon.
Then thought the better of my taste: what if he slipped me some Amaretto, just to be “nice”.
I find bartenders are often “nice”. It’s their job to be personable and friendly, and often, if you’re a regular, or a girl, they may give you twice the amount of alcohol requested or slip something flavorful into your drink without you knowing exactly what. I’ve had bartenders put lychee nut [a fruit] into ginger ale and make soft drinks hard just in an effort to please the customer, namely, me. They don’t mean ill; in fact, quite the opposite. Most people who come into a bar, appreciate the extra booze or the extra fruit, the extra effort really.
And I love extra effort and extra care: it's wonderful. However. I, like any allergic person, prefer to get exactly what I asked for, no additions please.
My date noticing that I wasn’t drinking my special drink asked if it was all right. I said it seemed to be but I needed to make certain. We called over the bartender who came out from behind the bar to talk with us. (I told you it was dead in there.)
I asked, “Can you tell me what exactly is in this?”
He said, “Sure. Fresh ginger, lemon, honey, water and egg whites.”
“Yeah, they make it nice and foamy. Is that OK?”
“Yes,” I stammered.
I turned to my date who was as surprised as I.
Concerned, he asked, “Are you allergic to eggs?”
“No,” I replied,“Luckily, I’m not but what if I were? This drink would be a potential killer.”
Raw eggs in cocktails are nothing new but there are having a revival. As the New York Times reported last week: “Suddenly, eggs are everywhere. Just a year ago, a bartender in the meatpacking district lamented that while she longed to add a flip to her cocktail list, she feared it would be impossible to sell a drink that listed eggs as an ingredient. (‘I can’t leave it off, though,’ she said. ‘What if someone’s allergic to eggs?’)”
The New York Times continues: “Why all the eggs? They blend the drink, and add body to it...A hard-shaken egg white adds foamy texture to a cocktail.”
The New York Times added one sentence about the pubic health issue, side stepping egg allergies completely. “As for salmonella, New York City’s Department of Health doesn’t seem too fearful — so long as customers are informed, a spokesman said, adding that raw eggs are legal.”
I wish my bartender at Flatiron Lounge felt so inclined to let me know there was egg in my drink. The fact that I was not informed is nicht gut. But again I didn’t have an issue.
For those of you with an egg allergy, who go out to drink at upscale restaurants or trendy bars in large cities, beware my friends: raw eggs in drinks are coming back.