Historic Holiday Drinks: Nogs, Flips and Syllabubs

I'm the type of New Yorker who prides herself on her cocktail knowledge. If you're looking for a $30 "appletini", I'm not your girl, but when you want a proper martini or require fresh lime juice in your gimlet, I know just the spot. So I was humbled and surprised to attend a holiday mixology class - “Nogs, Flips and Syllabubs” - where I only recognized the name of one of the three drinks.

Apparently, I’m not the only syllabub novice. According to our instructor, Anthony Caporale, these frothy delights have fallen out of favor over the last century. When you learn their origin (the foam traditionally came from adding warm milk - straight from the cow’s udder - to a drink) it should be no surprise that our sanitation, homogenization and pasteurization obsessed society got a little queasy over creamy cocktails. However, in the today's mixology movement, nogs, flips, and syllabubs are making a comeback.

As with most recipes involving raw protein, here there is an implicit safety plan. The sanitizing agent for the egg is the alcohol itself, which kills any lingering bacteria, making that creamy Sherry Syllabub more than safe to drink. With the frothy consistency of a milkshake, these drinks (despite being associated with cozy winter nights) are typically served cold. That is unless it's a "flip". Much to Caporale’s chagrin, no bars seem to be making flips the traditional way, which is to insert a hot poker fresh directly into a syllabub, causing it to froth so aggressively that it ‘flips’ over the side of the glass.

Anyone who’s hand-beaten egg whites knows modernity has its advantages, but - with a dash of Caporale's creativity - improving on the past might be the best way to discover a new drink. Cheers!


Maker's Mark Egg Nog

By Anthony Caporale, as featured on Art of the Drink


  • 12 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 liter Maker's Mark Bourbon
  • 1-pint heavy cream (very cold)
  • 1-pint milk fresh nutmeg    


  1. Separate egg whites and yolks into separate bowls.
  2. Beat whites to soft peaks.
  3. Beat yolks until smooth.
  4. Add sugar to yolks and beat until pale yellow.
  5. Add 1/2 liter bourbon.
  6. Fold egg whites into mixture.
  7. In a separate bowl, pour heavy cream and beat to soft peaks.
  8. Fold cream into egg mixture.
  9. Add a pint of milk, stir well to combine.
  10. Transfer to punch bowl and garnish with freshly-grated nutmeg.

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