Hard-Boiled Eggs and Alcohol: The Ultimate Pairing

For many years, eggs have been hailed as an easy and effective cure for a hangover. And that’s for a good reason. Eggs contain cysteine, a key amino acid that can help break down acetaldehyde, which is a toxin associated with alcohol metabolism and hangovers.

But did you know that at one time hard-boiled eggs were a staple at bars and saloons? The idea was to offer some actual nutrition to customers so they wouldn’t get sloppily drunk. In addition, as with the free pretzels, peanuts and chips served on bar tops today, the eggs helped make people thirsty enough to order more drinks.

Hard-boiled eggs were chosen to serve because they were inexpensive, they could easily last out of the refrigerator for a couple of hours and the shell prevented contamination if a customer picked up an egg only to replace it in a rack or bowl, uneaten. Hard-boiled eggs also were portion controlled: Most people would eat one or two but not many more. Plus most bars had eggs in stock since they could be used in a variety of punches as well as egg nog style drinks.

Unfortunately for bar goers, scientists discovered salmonella, which is a bacteria that causes food poisoning and can be found in undercooked eggs. Health departments across the United States then cracked down on the practice of offering racks of free hard-boiled eggs at bars. As a result, today you won’t find hard-boiled eggs, at least ones with a shell, on tops of bars today, free for the taking.

In a modern twist, Charlie Schott of Parson’s Chicken & Fish in Chicago challenged Celina Dzyacky, a bartender at Lula Café, also in Chicago, to create a cocktail that included hard-boiled eggs. Eggs are a common ingredient in many cocktails, but they’re usually raw. Here’s the drinkable recipe that Dzyacky came up with:

The Eggsistential Crisis

Ingredients:

2 ounces Macchu pisco, a Peruvian spirit best known for its use in Pisco Sours
1 ounce heavy cream
3/4 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce organic condensed rice milk
¼ ounce simple syrup (see recipe below)
Lemon and orange zest
1 Hard-boiled egg

Directions:

In a cocktail shaker, combine the pisco, heavy cream, lemon juice, rice milk, and simple syrup. Using a hand blender, puree the hard-boiled egg with a little water, then put it in a separate container. Grate the lemon and orange zest and put it on top of the hard-boiled egg puree mixture. Add ice and the egg puree mixture to the cocktail shaker and shake for at least two minutes, and ideally for eight. Strain into a glass and garnish with an orange peel pigtail.

Simple Syrup Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar
1 cup water

Directions:

Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before use.

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