Love it or hate it, it’s beginning to look a lot like ’nog season.
While we just wrapped up decorative gourd season, we now roll into delicious warm drinks and, of course, the obligatory eggnog. Luckily, there are many variations to suit even the pickiest palates by substituting almond milk, coconut milk and various spirits other than whiskey and rum.
The beginnings of an egg drink, from The Spruce Eats’ “Eggnog’s European Origins,” TheSpruceEats.com:
“It is believed that eggnog began in Europe. As early as the 13th century, medieval monks in Britain were known to drink posset, a warm ale punch with eggs and figs. Over the years, this likely merged with the various milk and wine punches often served at social gatherings.
“By the 17th century, sherry became the primary ingredient and it was popular to use this eggy beverage as a toast to one’s health and prosperity. It was primarily consumed by the well-to-do of society because milk, eggs and sherry were scarce commodities in Europe at the time.
“When the brew was brought to the New World, colonists added their own twist, which is more of what we know these days. The rum that American colonists could get from the Caribbean was considerably less expensive than the other liquors shipped from England. And so, along with the readily available supply of milk and eggs in the colonies, the rum version quickly became a popular drink for people of all classes.”
Personally, I can’t resist eggnog, and I am in love with the Food Network’s take on a snowman.
Some other variations to try at home:
Hold the cream.
Oak Spice Eggnog
Created by Manny Hinojosa
1 1/2 ounces Bacardi OakHeart Spice Rum
1 ounce Mexican Rompope
1/2 ounce The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley Orange Zest, thawed
1 ounce almond milk
1 ounce coffee
Nutmeg powder to garnish
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Shake and serve garnished with more orange zest and nutmeg.
Created by H. Joseph Ehrmann, Elixir Saloon, San Francisco
• 1 1/2 ounces añejo tequila
• 4 ounces chilled fresh eggnog
• Orange twist matches
In an old fashioned glass or other bucket-style glass (snifters or wine glasses are nice too because they capture the aroma of the burnt orange oil), combine the tequila and eggnog and stir well. Cut a half dollar-size twist of orange peel just deep enough to not include any pith. Light a match, and hold the twist over the glass with two fingers, pointing the rind side at the surface of the drink. Place the burning match between the twist and the drink (no need to “warm up” the rind) and squeeze the drink, sending the oils through the flame and onto the surface of the glass. (Be careful not to burn yourself, but make sure you see the oils ignite as they spray.) Drop the twist in the glass and serve. (This can also be served on the rocks, but don’t let it dilute too much or you’ll ruin the rich, creamy texture.)Notes: This twist on the classic eggnog takes advantage of the traditional flavors of a barrel-aged spirit but twists it with the spice of añejo tequila instead of the normal brandy, bourbon or rum. By using a high-quality añejo tequila in particular you’ll get nice citrus notes that are highlighted by the toasted orange oils sprayed on the surface.
Fresh Organic Eggnog
(use all organic ingredients)
• 4 organic egg yolks
• 1/3 cup organic sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
• 1 pint organic whole milk
• 1 cup organic heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 4 organic egg whites
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream and nutmeg and stir to combine. Set aside in a refrigerator and store until service time, reserving the whites separately.
2. At service time, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a cold metal mixing bowl) and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running, gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.
3. To make a slightly lighter version, use half and half; to make a nondairy version, whisk 1/4 cup of almond butter into 24 ounces of unsweetened almond milk and 1 cup cooked oatmeal, then blend the entire batch until smooth.
Look beyond the ’nog to dessert drinks such as Il Bombardino, an Italian eggnog dessert.
Il Bombardino is a small Italian eggnog cocktail made from three simple ingredients.
• 1.7 ounces eggnog liqueur such as Advocaat or Zabov Zagalione
• 0.3 ounces or a very small splash measuring by eye, brandy
• 1 heaped tablespoon whipped cream
• 1 small pinch cinnamon
1. Heat the eggnog liqueur of choice in a saucepan over a medium heat and turn it off just before boiling. Pour the liqueur into an espresso cup or a shot glass.
2. Add the brandy and stir until combined. Top with a dollop of whipped heavy cream and dust with cinnamon.
Notes: There are three well-known versions of Il Bombardino.
• The Original: Zabaglione, brandy and whipped cream.
• Calimero: Zabaglione, espresso and whipped cream. (You can make a larger serving my adding more espresso.)
• Scozzese (the Scotsman): Zabaglione, whiskey and whipped cream.