So, here’s the deal. Things are simply too crazy here at Drink of the Week for us to be experimenting with new cocktails over the next couple of weeks. I’ll spare you the details but they involve a cold virus with Dracula-like survival skills, a new and hopefully far more permanent location for Drink of the Week Central, plus the usual pre-holiday folderol.
Still, you readers want holiday cocktail suggestions, and I’m here to help.
So, how do you ring in the yuletide when it’s time for a bit of liquid refreshment? Well, the picture above may be a clue that I’m thinking nog. Eggnog might be a bit of holiday cliche but, you know what, cliches become cliches because they actually work and, if you make it fresh, eggnog really, really works. Yes, drink even a few of these ultra-rich, ultra-sweet concoctions and you’ll find yourself looking just a bit more like Santa in the weight department, but also in the area of cheerfulness. In other words, you’ve got to try this once. For me, there’s no better dessert drink.
1.5-2 ounces of your choice of cognac/brandy, bourbon, Canadian whiskey, rum, applejack, port or, perhaps, any other booze you think might be tasty.
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 ounce heavy cream (optional)
2 ounces full fat milk if not using heavy cream; with cream use 1.5 ounces
4-5 teaspoons superfine or powdered sugar or the equivalent in simple syrup (less if you’re base spirit is on the sweet side)
Ground nutmeg (garnish)
If you’ve been reading DOTW for a while, you can probably guess how this goes. We start with what the pros these days call a dry shake. You combine the sugar, the egg, and all the liquid ingredients, in a cocktail shaker without ice. Shake vigorously, but be careful of the top of your shaker. Egg whites provide some extra chemical fun that can make the top of your shaker pop off.
Next, add plenty of ice and shake again. Strain into a rocks glass and top off with some ground nutmeg. The fancy people use fresh nutmeg and grind it themselves. I use the store-bought kind.
While some might be fearful of the raw egg, for the large majority of unpregnant healthy adults, the risks are next to zilch if you’re egg is fresh, refrigerated, and uncracked. You took a far bigger chance driving to the store to buy the eggs. Also, contrary to the assumptions of many, there is nothing slimy about a properly made egg or egg-white infused cocktail. It’s also a gazillion X gazillion better than the nog you buy in the grocery store, and I used to love that stuff. This is, however, a health risk in that it is both megadelicious and, as you know, megafattening. You’ve been warned!
If you want to lighten it up fairly significantly and still have a delicious libation, consider a recent favorite of mine, and a true but still obscure cocktail classic, the Flip. You can read my prior post or simply remove the dairy products, the vanilla extract, and some of the sugar from the above recipe. It’s less fattening and makes a lighter and more refreshing Chrismas treat. Also, if you’re getting over a cold like me, you won’t have to deal with the wonders of diary-related phlegm. Yum!
If you’d like something lighter still and more on the tangy side, consider creating your own tried and true variation on the egg-white infused whiskey sour, say the Chicago Sour, maybe substituting a port or sherry for the red wine float, or the Clover Leaf.
Not sold on the egg thing? Don’t worry, I’ve got one more suggestion.
If you grew up watching old movies like me, you’ve encountered references to this delightful wintertime favorite and wondered, does “hot buttered rum” really contain butter? The answer is, yes, yes it does! That what makes it so perfect for a cocooning couple or as comfort booze for the rest of us.
Hot Buttered Rum
2 ounces dark rum
2 teaspoons sugar, preferably dark brown or raw
5-7 ounces boiling water
1 pat of butter (unsalted or salted)
Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and/or cloves to taste
If you’ve got a red-hot poker handy, the really old school way to heat this drink is by sticking the poker directly in the mug, but a microwave or stove top is the more safe and sane approach if you ask me.
So, put your butter, sugar, and a dash or two of any or all of the suggested seasonings in a mug you’ve preheated (usually just by letting it sit with very hot water in it). Pour about 1-2 ounces of boiling water over your other ingredients. Stir until the butter is melted and the sugar and spices have dissolved. Only then should you add two ounces of room temperature dark rum and top of with your remaining not-quite boiling but still extremely hot water. Sip with caution ’cause this one might still be extremely hot.
If none of the drink I’ve mentioned turns your particular Christmas cranks, feel free to explore as many of my prior Drink of the Week posts as you dare. Any drink can be the perfect holiday beverage if you like it!
Next week: Drinks to help you welcome 2014 and forget 2013!