Although relatively rare, there have been cases of salmonella-related food poisoning in some parts of the United States. According to the Park Ridge, Ill.-based American Egg Board, in fact only one in about 20,000 eggs contains salmonella, and most cases have been due to improper handling (such as letting raw-egg preparations stand too long at room temperatures) in commercial establishments.
Some experts recommend using pasteurized liquid whole eggs (available in cartons in a market’s refrigerated section) as a substitute, swapping in one quarter liquid eggs for each large egg, 1/8 cup for each egg yolk. However, many cocktail purists shudder at the notion of using pasteurized eggs in place of regular raw eggs.
Still, some may have no choice but to use pasteurized eggs to froth up Fizzes and Flips. For example, New York’s Pegu Club owner Audrey Saunders reports that in January, during a routine health department visit, she was advised to lay off the raw eggs.
“Everything was fine until the inspector looked on our menu, saw the Earl Grey MarTEAni,” she recounts. “Even with the warning we have printed on our menu about raw eggs, using raw eggs is a violation and we have to switch to pasteurized eggs in our cocktails.”
While an emphasis on safe egg handling techniques and a potential switch from raw to pasteurized may be the best ways to mitigate any potential egg-related hazards, many bartenders deplore the idea of omitting eggs from the drink list altogether. Consider the following playful “warning” posted on the menu at Boston’s Eastern Standard: “Consuming raw eggs may increase your risk of being held in high regard by the bar.”