Every Way to Drink a Raw Egg

Examining the wide world of egg-based cocktails, including the Clover Club, gin fizz, and eggnog.

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Clover Club cocktail, which uses egg whites
Photo: Milanchikov Sergey (Shutterstock)

It’s become a trope in films to show someone horribly hungover staggering into the kitchen to make some kind of horrific tomato smoothie, topping it off with an even more horrific freshly cracked egg. Nothing would make me revisit my evening’s beverages sooner than drinking one of these alleged hangover cures. However, now that it’s the season of eggnog-flavored everything, I’ve come to find out there are many legitimate ways to drink raw eggs, even if you haven’t had a meetcute out on the town the night before.

Yes, you can drink raw eggs

I wasn’t never allowed to eat cookie dough as a kid because of the uncooked eggs potentially containing salmonella. As it turns out, salmonella is in roughly one out of 20,000 eggs, and the raw flour in cookie dough also poses a risk of both salmonella and E. coli. Despite the fact that my survival instincts are telling me not to drink raw eggs, there are a few ways to make this a safe practice. For one thing, you’re going to need pasteurized eggs (looking at you, chicken coop owners of Portland). The pasteurization process kills the harmful bacteria and viruses inside the shell.


If you’re buying eggnog at the store, or any other product like mayonnaise or some salad dressings that contain raw eggs, these are pasteurized eggs, so you’re safe. When making your own recipes with pasteurized eggs, wipe down the outer shell before cracking the egg and use the freshest eggs possible. Homemade meringue or some buttercreams use raw eggs and sugar. The sugar effectively “cooks” the eggs by altering their protein structure. It’s a chemical reaction, really, but suffice to say, it renders the eggs more stable at room temperature.


Egg cocktails, meanwhile, are often thought to be safe because the alcohol purifies the egg of its harmful potential or somehow cooks it to make it safe. This is not true. A chemical reaction definitely occurs between the alcohol and egg, but if the egg already contains harmful bacteria, liquor won’t eliminate that risk. Still, the risk is lower than we may have been told by our mothers while we hovered over a bowl of raw cookie dough.


Drinks containing raw eggs

Raw egg beverages are a time-honored tradition. There are many variants on egg juice, many of which are old-timey cocktails. Traditionally, these drinks contain alcohol, but most can be made without, or as a mocktail with some alterations.


Note: An egg cream does not contain eggs, so I owe my dad an apology for being super grossed out whenever he’d order them in diners.


This seasonal classic combines eggs, cream, sugar, spices, and often alcohol to create a rich, creamy treat. While it’s fine on its own or used as a coffee creamer or in desserts, eggnog is often served with rum, brandy, or whiskey to make the already cozy drink even warmer.



A flip is defined as a whole egg cocktail made with sugar, but not cream (as found in eggnog). While originally served hot, the flip has transformed over time into a cold beverage, sometimes containing cream, and with many variations. Brandy, rum, gin, whiskey, and wine, especially whiskey, are all common flip inclusions. The beer flip is an old classic from the days before refrigeration and includes warm beer, brown sugar, rum or brandy, and an egg. Like eggnog, it’s often garnished with nutmeg. The beer is heated before being poured into the egg sugar mixture, and the drink must be stirred carefully while combining the ingredients so the egg doesn’t cook and congeal. A cold beer flip is called a safety net. It incorporates sherry, Cynar, honey syrup, egg, and beer. It’s meant to be shaken, not stirred, to the point of froth.


Amber moon

An amber moon is the hangover “hair of the dog” cure from the movies. Tabasco, vodka or whiskey, and a whole egg—it’s basically a bloody mary with extra protein. This cocktail appears in such big- and small-screen hits as Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Russian Doll, and Addams Family Values.



Not all sours have eggs, but some variations traditionally have egg whites. There are seemingly infinite permutations of sour cocktails, but they all include some kind of liquor, lemon or lime juice, a sweetener like simple syrup, and optional egg whites for added richness. A Pisco sour is a Peruvian brandy-based cocktail with egg whites. If you make a whiskey sour with egg whites, it’s a Boston sour, which is not to be confused with a New York sour (which includes red wine). Bostonians would never want to be mixed up with New Yorkers.



Another classic, the fizz hails from New Orleans. It frequently features gin, though whiskey, vodka, and rum are also acceptable, and usually the drink includes some form of citrus and an egg white (though variations include those made with yolk or the whole egg). The Ramos gin fizz has orange flower water, and the sloe gin fizz has a plum-based gin and usually grapefruit juice. A particularly intense variation is the morning glory fizz, which is whiskey-based and also includes absinthe, if you want to get your Moulin Rouge on (always). One of the most famous egg cocktails, the clover club, is very much like a gin fizz. It hails from pre-Prohibition-era Philly and is made of gin, fresh lemon juice, raspberry syrup, and egg white. It looks very pretty in a cocktail glass garnished with fresh raspberries.


Egg soda

Meant to be non-alcoholic and often served with breakfast, this Vietnamese drink, called Soda Sua Hot Gua, is egg yolk, sweetened condensed milk, and club soda. If I’m going for a condensed-milk-based iced breakfast drink, I usually go for Vietnamese coffee, but I’ll have to give this a whirl when I’m feeling pre-caffeinated.



Syllabub—aka solybubbe, sullabub, sullibib, sullybub, sullibub—is a mystery. Is it food or drink? A dish or a digestif? Whatever it is, it’s the concoction with the most fun-to-say name. Prepare yourself: It is curdled, and the thickness, which is partially established with egg whites and can be increased with additional alcohol, determines whether it’s a beverage or a pudding-like dessert. Though the earliest iterations were cider-based, you can see how much the drink has evolved by looking at this recipe, which calls for white wine, brandy, sugar, lemon, and whipped cream.