I often find myself with a half quart or so of leftover buttermilk in my fridge from various cooking projects, like pancakes or homemade crème fraîche, and I could never really figure out what to do with it until now. The answer: whip up a Buttermilk Gin Flip.
The classic flip is a shaken drink made with a spirit, a whole egg, cream, simple syrup, with the optional addition of cream (which technically turns it into a nog). It's rich and creamy, yes, but with the right level of alcohol and proper chilling, it's also completely refreshing and drinkable, sporting a beautiful foamy rim that supports the dusting of nutmeg it traditionally comes with. There are some places—high end New York bars in particular, it seems (is this a regional thing?)—that like to think a flip should be made with egg whites and citrus or—horrors!—soda water! All of these modifications are abominations of the highest order and should be immediately discarded with extreme prejudice and a declaration of "I'll just have a beer please."
An entirely better modification that also happens to lighten the drink considerably is to replace the heavy cream with buttermilk, which adds the dairy smoothness and thickness of cream, but without the fat, along with a touch of acidity to brighten things up. I don't keep simple syrup on hand at home, and I certainly can't be bothered to heat up sugar and water and wait for it to chill every time I want to make a drink, which often leaves me resorting to alternative sweeteners. Honey, agave, the like. Maple syrup works particularly well in this drink, playing off the warm spice notes of the nutmeg sprinkled on top.
Finally, your drink will foam much better if you separate the egg yolk and give it its own spin in the shaker to break it up before adding the remaining ingredients.
- 1 whole egg, separated
- 2 ounces gin
- 1 ounce buttermilk
- 1/2 ounce maple syrup
- Fresh nutmeg
Place egg yolk in cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes. Seal shaker and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Open shaker, fill with ice, and add gin, buttermilk, egg white, and maple syrup. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds and strain into chilled coupe or sour glass. Grate nutmeg over top and serve.