Spirit/Wine + sweetener + egg, shaken well and served hot or cold, garnished with nutmeg
Dating back to apparently the 1600's, a flip was originally always a hot drink. They would have been made with Brandy or Rum (for strength), Beer (for volume), and a sweetener (for flavor). This would be very quickly heated by plunging a red-hot "Loggerhead" (poker heated in the fire) into it, and then poured back and forth between two pitchers to mix it well.
One of the earliest recipes for it comes from Oxford Nightcaps (1827), where it supplies the recipe for "RUM BOOZE, OR EGG POSSET" (with a footnote that "It is sometimes denominated Egg Flip.") And a "BEER FLIP".
RUM BOOZE, OR EGG POSSET b.
The yolks of eight eggs well beaten up, with some refined sugar pulverized, and a grated nutmeg; extract the juice from the rind of a lemon by rubbing loaf sugar on it; put the sugar, a piece of cinnamon, and a bottle of white wine, into a clean saucepan; when the wine boils take it off the fire; pour one glass of cold white wine into it, put it into a spouted jug, and pour it gradually among the yolks of the eggs, &c. keeping them well stirrd with a spoon as the wine is poured in; if not sweet enough, add a small quantity of loaf sugar; then pour the mixture as swift as possible from one vessel to the other until a white froth is obtained. Half a pint of rum is sometimes added, but it is then very intoxicating. Port wine is sometimes substituted for white, but it is not considered so palatable. This liquor should be drank when quite hot. If the wine is poured boiling hot among the eggs, the mixture will become curdled.
b It is sometimes denominated Egg Flip.
Beer flip is made the same way and with the same materials as the preceding, excepting that one quart of strong home-brewed beer is substituted for the wine; a glass of gin is sometimes added, but it is better without it. This beverage is generally given to servants at Christmas, and other high festivals of our Church.
A flip is an egg based drink and is made by combining a spirit and/or wine with a sweetening ingredient and a whole egg. It can either be served hot or cold. Traditionally, if served hot, a red-hod fireplace poker (or "loggerhead") would be plunged into the liquids (before adding the egg), which would cause it to froth violently (or "flip"), the egg and sugar would be added and this entire mixture would be poured back and forth between two (heat safe!) vessels. Eventually, it became appropriate to serve the drink cold, in which case there would be no need for the loggerhead, and instead it would be shaken well with ice to mix. It would then be commonly garnished with nutmeg.
For an example, see:
- Flip (Wikipedia)
- Hot Ale Flip (Atlas Obscura)
- PodCast: Hot Ale Flip (Atlas Obscura, November 11, 2021)
- Loggerhead (Atlas Obscura)
- TOOLS OF THE TRADE: AT LOGGERHEADS WITH THE TODDY (The Historians, October 13, 2014)
- Beer Flip Oxford Nightcaps, 1827 (via EUVS Library)