This is a post as much about me as a half-breed Mexican as much as it is about a cocktail. I grew up in Chula Vista, California- or as San Diego natives say, “Chula Juana”- referring to it’s proximity to Tijuana, Mexico. It’s true- The border was seven miles away.
I grew up there before there was talk of a wall being built, before a passport was necessary to cross back and forth, and before I was eighteen. The border was really just a turnstile that you would walk through to assert yourself as an international traveler- and i did that many times as a high schooler- did I say international traveler? I meant international imbiber. You see, the drinking age down there is eighteen. All a young kid like me needed was a fake ID- which I did not have. But, at the time, I was running around with nineteen and twenty year olds, so they would show their ID, and then say I was just in to get food. Voila, I’m in an international club. I know, it’s Tijuana, who the hell cares? Well, as a sixteen year old, I cared. Occasionally I would run into the “popular kids” from my high school in a random club- instant street cred that I never had to begin with. Also, I would see famous people in these clubs. Okay, famous for a sixteen year old. Ever hear of a jock named AC Slater? Saved by the Bell anyone? Fine, if you are younger than thirty you only know Mario Lopez as a terrible host of some random show that needs to be hosted by a random person who was somebody once. Anyway, I saw him down there- he’s from Chula Vista too. And one more fun fact about him- he claims his first kiss ever was with Fergie.
Back to- where where we? Growing up in Chula Vista. My mother is of the Mexican persuasion, and my dad is of the West Virginia white persuasion- In the looks department, my dad’s West Virginia white-ness pretty much canceled out my Mexican-ness, so at a glance I looked like a white kid who could get a good tan. That combined with the “Sun-In” I applied to my hair didn’t help me get that cholo look I really wanted. A cholo is kinda like a Mexican Gangster- there were a lot of wannabes in Chula Vista and in my high school. One of my cousins, who was a half breed just like me, got dealt the Mexican look for some reason- so he got to be a cholo and hang out with them- all I got to be was his weird little white cousin.
Sorry, the whole point of this is that I grew up in Chula Vista, very close to my mother’s family who all were brown and spoke spanish, but my siblings and I were these little white outcasts- well, except my brother, he was a little browner than my sister and I. And not just my mother’s family was brown, but all of Chula Vista was- and I never noticed! Not until I looked back at a yearbook recently did I notice that I was a little whitey in a sea of diversity- a complete 180º from Missoula, Montana.
Wow. I just realized, yes really, just now, that the whole point of explaining my background was to tell you why I like tequila and mezcal. In doing so, I apparently felt it important that you know I identify as Mexican. And in doing that, I seem to be just affirming the stereotype that because I’m Mexican, I like tequila and mezcal. I apologize for that. But, may I take a stab at breaking that stereotype in the same paragraph? My mom’s drink of choice is brandy. Not just any brandy, El Presidente Brandy. Up until this very moment I always thought it odd- my Mexican mother who loves the brandy- so much so her dog’s name is Brandy! And in doing some quick research just now, I found out that El Presidente is the top selling spirit in Mexico. So put away your old stereotypes because they just got renewed- All Mexicans love El Presidente Brandy. You can go tell your friends, but they probably won’t believe you.
How about we talk about this dessert cocktail, “It’s a Flip, Güey”. Aw shit! I just realized, the point of describing my Chula Vista background wasn’t to prove my love for Agave, it was to explain the term “güey”. I think I’m hungover or something, sorry. (Too much tequila last night)
So… güey- It only exists in colloquial Mexican Spanish. (I found this out hard way once, I’ll explain in a minute) Technically, it means something like “dumb ox”. But we (the Mexicans and I) use it like Americans use the term “dude”- really, it’s pretty much interchangeable. Oh! And it’s pronounced “whey”- not “gay” or “gooey”. That’s important to know if you are going to start throwing this word around- and you should- because it’s fun. And if you do, only use it with friends or people you are friendly with. Don’t use it in your next business meeting or powerpoint as this would be frowned upon, even in Mexico. And don’t go calling your Columbian Chef who doesn’t really like you güey either. That’s what I found out the hard way- I didn’t know it was a strictly Mexican thing and I called him güey- which he immediately took offense to. Man, I sure felt like a dumb ox.
Okay güey, now that we got that out of the way, let’s get to that cocktail…
So, it’s a flip, güey. What is a flip? In today’s cocktail world a flip pretty much means a cocktail with a whole egg in it, yolk and all- it can also have some sugar, sometimes some cream, and sometimes a light dusting of fresh nutmeg on top- depending on the flip. This flip, güey, has the whole egg- but nothing else mentioned from above.
Way back in the old days, a flip was different- it was hot- made hot by heating it with a red hot stick of iron. Sounds like fun actually- but the drink itself sounds terrible. From what I could gather, a few hundred years ago it was a mixture of beer, rum, and sugar. One would pour those ingredients together (balanced I’m sure) and then stick a red hot stick of metal into it and it would froth and bubble and flip around and probably sound a whole lot like a lobster crying out it’s last regrets in life in a pot of boiling water. Somehow, over time, the hot drink turned into a cold drink, beer was omitted, egg was added, blah blah blah blah. I’m sure David Wondrich has a whole book written about it.
So, in this flip, the whole egg lends a creaminess that cannot be achieved in any other way. It’s lightly smokey, with whispers of chocolate and spice…
It’s a Flip, Güey
In a shaker combine…
1 whole egg
1 oz Vida Mezcal
1 oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liquor
1 oz Averna Amaro
1/2 oz Creme de Cacao (or Creme de Cocoa, my brand randomly rearranged their letters recently)
1 heavy dash of ground cinnamon
1 hawthorn spring (optional)
Now, shake the shit out of it without ice, like for a minute or two. Take the spring out, add ice, and shake the shit out of it again. Double strain into a cocktail glass. Grate some Taza Cinnamon Chocolate over it.