Finally got round to the Cloudberry Flip! I’ve had this Finnish cloudberry liqueur sitting around for years, making its mysterious presence felt through an improvisational dash in a thrown together cocktail here and there. Mostly though, it’s been slumbering, awaiting this day.
What a wonderful whimsical name is Cloudberry Flip: light, buoyant, dreamy… Lovely as it sounds, the drink doesn’t appear to exist anywhere outside the pages of Mason & Dixon. Until now!
A flip generally is a cocktail made up of a flavoursome spirit or fortified wine sweetened with sugar syrup and shaken with a whole egg. The sherry flip is apparently the most common nowadays, although I can’t claim to have ever encountered one. Punch describes them as “liquid holdovers from the colonial era.” Those original flips were a bit different though. Starting out as a 17th century sailor’s drink, flips were a mixture of beer, rum, molasses, and egg, heated with an iron rod fresh from the fireplace.
In Mason & Dixon, we encounter a flip amidst discussion of the hollow earth. Dixon and Mason and their party are pondering the possibility of a World within the World, perhaps with its entrance at the northern pole. Stig, a Swedish lumberjack in their camp, has a tale of tavern life in those northern regions:
Tho’ I come from pret-ty far North,” Stig pts in, “Yet there’s a lot more North, North of even that,— out of which, now and then, a Sail will appear upon the Horizon, a Snow-craft approach, all the day long, and at Evening at last put in at our little Village,— Ev’ryone crowds into the Inn, by the light of bear-fat Candles, to drink Cloud-berry Flip, and listen to the Visitor’s tales of a great dark Cavity up there, mirror’d over-head, as by a Water-sky,— Funnel-shap’d, leading inside the Earth…to another World.”Mason & Dixon, pp. 602-3.
Stig’s cloudberry flip I suppose was more likely the early ale-some variety, this being the 1760s. Were I emerging from the frozen wilds of North and/or clambering out of the Inner Earth, I’d probably appreciate a drink freshly frothed and heated by hot poker. But cloudberries are not something one comes across every day this far from their native arctic circle, and I think their flavour might shine better in something a little simpler, so I’m going with the modern flip recipe:
2 shots of Lakka cloudberry liqueur
1 shot of simple syrup
1 whole egg
All shaken with ice, strained into a coupe glass, and garnished with a little freshly grated nutmeg.
The result is an opaque gold colour with a frothy white top, to the eye not unlike a hazy IPA. It’s sweet and creamy—almost fluffy, cloudlike!—a touch boozy, tasting of honey with a hint of musk and rosewater. A rich warming welcome back to the outer world, even in its cool incarnation. Can’t say I feel too sure what an actual cloudberry tastes like drinking this, but perhaps one day I can visit Stig’s far northern tavern and investigate further.