Nevertheless, on that fateful evening, an inspector from the New York City Department of Health cited Pegu Club, at 77 West Houston Street in SoHo, for serving the MarTEAni without telling the customer who ordered it that it contained raw egg. The notice said it was a serious infraction that required a court appearance.
Raw eggs are among the ingredients most fervently embraced by cocktail revivalists who have sought out new techniques and circled back to classic recipes. And the MarTEAni is a signature drink at a bar that is seen as a paragon of the new cocktailians.
Serving raw eggs in drinks is, thankfully, not illegal. You just have to tell customers that the drink contains them. A simple note on the menu serves as adequate warning. Unless a customer orders without looking at the menu:
The inspector reported that the customer who asked for the MarTEAni didn’t order it from the menu and that the bartender didn’t mention raw eggs were in it. But the bartender on the night of the inspection, Kenta Goto, said that no MarTEAnis were served while the inspector was present. The inspector who signed the violation sheet, Nathalie Louissaint, could not be reached for comment.
This puts a ridiculous burden on bartenders. How is one supposed to know if a customer has looked at the menu? If a regular comes in and orders the drink, must one warn him of the eggs every time in case a city inspector is watching? Rather than take these chances Pegu Club has taken the drink off the list, a loss to craft cocktail drinkers in the city.
As with many food dishes, raw eggs play an important role in giving cocktails texture. Sensitive buyers should beware and avoid egg drinks if they’re worried, just as they would avoid housemade mayonnaise or other products. For the rest of us a simple menu disclaimer should suffice.
If you’d like to try the drink in question, the recipe is here. Be sure to warn yourself about the raw egg before proceeding.