Bourbon Flip

A pre-prohibition favorite, the Bourbon Flip provides the perfect nightcap on a cold night.  Bartenders use a variety of spirits to make different flips, including whiskey/whiksy, rum, sherry, mezcal, and even gin.  Our favorite flip uses bourbon, which we find goes great with the cocktail’s airy texture and nutmeg topping.

The Bourbon Flip provides a lighter alternative to eggnog as it ditches the extra cream.  Traditional eggnogs include a spirit, egg, cream, and spice.  If you shake this drink properly, we guarantee you the lack of cream does not matter as the air whips the egg into a creamy and smooth froth of deliciousness.

For those of you worried about salmonella, the risk of getting sick remains low.  However, if you remain concerned, of course, pass on the flips.  Another alternative is to use aquafaba, the drained chickpea liquid from a can.  Vegans commonly use aquafaba as an egg replacement.  In this case, simply transfer the liquid from a can of chickpeas and lightly whip the liquid until it starts to become foamy, which creates the binder necessary to make this drink.  A rule of thumb is that three tablespoons of aquafaba equal about one whole egg and two tablespoons equal about one egg white.

Use a Dry Shake

To achieve the froth on top, we recommend utilizing a dry shake.  Many bartenders prefer a reverse dry shake or utilize an iSi whipper to create a thicker head.  To complete the dry shake, add the egg or egg white, the bourbon, the simple syrup, and vanilla extract to a mixing tin.  If you choose to add bitters to this drink, add them at this point as well.

Some bartenders recommend performing the dry shake without the base spirit, preferring to add the spirit after the dry shake and before the final shake.  We add the base spirit with the rest of the ingredients and believe that it improves the mouthfeel of the end product.  Those that wait to add the base spirit claim that its early addition adversely affects the emulsification and aeration of the drink.  Finally, others also take the spring from a Hawthorne strainer and place it inside the mixing tin to act as an additional whisk, but we find that an unnecessary step–especially in a busy bar.

After completing the dry shake, add some ice and shake again to chill the drink.  Some bartenders use a single large cube, a large cube with a couple of standard cubs, or just a few standard cubes.  Whichever method you prefer, the general idea is to not destroy the froth by adding too much ice, air remains the key to this drink, you want a lot of it getting mixed in.  One of the world’s great bars, Employees Only, in New York’s West Village, bypasses the dry shake and uses just a few cubes with a very hard, longer shake to make a Bourbon Flip.  So clearly, many roads lead to the same destination.

When straining the drink, we use just a Hawthorne strainer but others also fine strain the mix as it comes out to keep out any eggshells, curdled egg, or chalaza from the end product.  It certainly does not hurt the drink to add a double strain, nor does it take much additional time so proceed either way.


A traditional flip uses the entire egg, as discussed above for health reasons or to make the drink vegan friendly, swap out the egg for aquafaba.  We used just the egg white to knock a few calories out of the drink and found just as much mouthfeel and creaminess as using the entire egg.  One variation we strongly recommend in our recipe is adding 2-3 drops of vanilla extract.  We found that this addition took the drink to an entirely new level by adding another layer of aromas, but take note of your bourbon’s mash bill if you take this route.

The Bourbon Flip presents nicely served up in a coupe glass.  Tradition calls for a garnish of grated nutmeg over the top of the drink.  This is one case where the following of tradition remains the best course.





Bourbon Flip

A creamy bourbon drink to relax by the fire on a cold night.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Course Cocktail


  • Coupe glass
  • Hawthorne strainer
  • Shaker


  • 2 oz Bourbon, Good quality
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 2 to 3 drops bourbon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 to 4 ice cubes


  • Add ice to the coupe glass to chill and set aside.
    Making Boourbon Flip Cooling The Glass
  • Pour Bourbon and simple syrup to the shaker. Add two to three drops of vanilla extract, egg white from a large egg (original versions of this recipe use the entire egg), shake vigorously for thirty seconds.
    Pouring bourbon into a shaker making bourbon flip
  • Add three to four ice cubes, close the shaker tightly, and shake vigorously for another ten seconds.
  • Discharge the ice from the chilled coupe glass. With a Hawthorne strainer, strain the cocktail.
    Straining bourbon flip into coupe glass
  • Sprinkle the foam on the top with a pinch of nutmeg for garnish.
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