Traditional Holiday Eggnog > Recipe

Posted On December 22, 2009

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Among the great tragedies of the holidays, nestled between fruitcake and unannounced visits from in-laws, is eggnog.

Every year by the time Thanksgiving comes around, grocery stores across the US are stocked with cartons upon cartons of premixed eggnog on their shelves. But the sweet, gluey mess that comes out of these quart-sized containers hardly resembles the rich, creamy, deliciously-spiced and lightly sweet spiked punch that was the holiday drink of our forefathers.

Eggnog originated in England, where it was a drink for nobles, as the milk and eggs used to make it were in short supply. When the colonists traveled to America, they brought the recipe with them, possibly naming it Egg and Grog, which was eventually shortened to eggnog. Unlike their London-based brethren, the colonists had no shortage of milk and eggs, making it much more accessible to the common folk.

When the English crown levied taxes on brandy and wine those colonists, who enjoyed a “wee dram” every now and then, found their access to eggnog to be quite handy, as it allowed them to do an end run around the King. Brandy and wine were the winter drinks of choice at the time, so the new taxes forced these enterprising proto-Americans to make do with rum. According to several accounts, they would spike batches of eggnog to mask and “civilize” the harsh liquor for consumption. This provided a little warmth and festivity during the frigid colonial winter without running afoul of the tax man.

All this colonial history makes one thing clear, good eggnog, like bourbon, tobacco and apple pie, is the birthright of every American. Since the homemade stuff not only tastes better, but is easy to make, somewhat healthier, and mixes with liquor better, there’s not really any reason to suffer through the store-bought stuff.

This is especially true when you want to impress a crowd, or at least a date, with your bartending skills. Despite the simple recipe, people are always amazed when someone goes through “all the trouble” to make homemade eggnog. Best of all, like most punches, you can make it in advance in large batches, so there’s no need for the host to take a break from socializing to mix yet another drink.

Traditional Holiday Eggnog

The eggnog recipe below will serve about 30, and can be scaled up or down to suit any size party. As tradition dictates, it does a spectacular job of smoothing out the harshness of any liquor, leaving only a lingering warm glow as it goes down. Traditional Holiday Eggnog > Recipe

Ingredients >
12 eggs, yolks and whites separated
2 cups superfine sugar
2 pints rum
3 pints milk
1 pint heavy cream

Procedure >
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until thick. Then stir in the rum, milk and cream. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled and pour into a punch bowl or pitcher. Beat the egg whites until stiff and stir into the eggnog. Stir in cinnamon and sprinkle the nutmeg on top.

It’s easy to change the recipe up as well. Add a little sophistication to the mix and stick it to the English by replacing the rum with brandy, celebrating the fact that all our liquor taxes now go to our own duly elected government. Or make it a truly American drink by using bourbon. The natural sweetness of Kentucky’s finest matches well to the creamy eggnog and adds a mellow burn to the cocktail. Plus, it adds a little testosterone to the drink. Given that few make it through a glass of eggnog without a milk mustache, it can’t hurt to man it up a little. Even if you’re a woman.

Other options include >

  • 1 pint of coffee liqueur, such as like Kahlua, mixed with 1 pint light rum, which would result in a incredibly creamy coffee-flavored concoction on a par with the most delicious Frappucino of all time.
  • 1 pint of pumpkin liqueur, such as Bols Pumpkin Smash, mixed with 1 pint bourbon, delivering a delicious, and drinkable, pumpkin pie.
  • 2 pints of tequila with a tablespoon of cayenne pepper in place of the cinnamon and nutmeg, a spicy take on eggnog perfect for the tequila craze. Just make sure to use a good silver or reposado tequila, such as Don Roberto or Patron.

Festive Drinks > Whiskey Eggnog

Posted On December 22, 2009

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Ingredients >
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whisky
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream

Procedure >
In a saucepan, beat the eggs and sugar until creamy. In a second saucepan over low heat, heat 2 cups of milk until hot. Slowly add to the egg mixture, stirring continuously. Cook over low heat, stirring, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Stir in the remaining milk, vanilla, whisky, and half the nutmeg. Chill 3 hours. In a medium bowl, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Fold into the milk mixture. Ladle the eggnog into a punch bowl and sprinkle with the remaining grated nutmeg. Makes 6 cups.

Festive Drinks > Russian Tea

Posted On December 22, 2009

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Ingredients >
1 jar (1 lb. 2 oz.) Tang
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups instant tea
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
dash salt
1 small pkg (3 oz.) lemonade mix [such as Wyler’s]

Procedure >
Mix all ingredients well and store in tightly covered jars. Will keep indefinitely if kept in tight container.

Festive Drinks > Hot Apple Cider

Posted On December 22, 2009

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Ingredients >
1 large bottle Apple Cider
1 large bottle Ginger Ale
3 cinnamon sticks
15 whole cloves
15 whole allspice
1 oz. bag of red hots
Sprinkle of nutmeg

Procedure >
Mix 2/3 bottle of Apple Cider to 1/3 bottle of Ginger Ale. Place all spices in basket of coffee maker and fill reservoir with apple cider to make 4 cups of liquid. Add this liquid to cider mixture you made. The 3 cinnamon sticks can be returned to the cider mixture but discard the remainder of the spices. Taste cider mixture for flavor. Additional red hots can be added if preferred for color and spiciness. Steep cider for 45 minutes to 1 hour before serving. Can be refrigerated and reheated as neeeded.

How to make a homemade mulled wine

Ingredients >
350ml Port wine
750ml red wine
¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice
½ cup white cane sugar
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Orange slices/cinnamon sticks to serve

Method >
First pour red wine in a large pot. Then add the port and stir. Stir in all listed spices. Add the sugar and lemon juice. Place pot on low heat, stirring occasionally, so as not to allow the mixture to boil. Bringing the mixture to boil will ruin the final pleasant taste of the mulled wine. The mulled wine has to simmer for at least 25-30 minutes. When this time has elapsed, pass mixture through a fine strainer, so as to filter any amount of residue left by the spices. This should be repeated two to three times. Store in clean empty bottles of wine in a cool dry place.

Serving suggestion > homemade Mulled Wine

Serving suggestion >
Serve warm in a small glass, adding an orange slice or cinnamon stick, according to one’s taste.

Ginger Twist

Posted On January 14, 2007

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I always tend to begin the year full of inspired cocktail mixing and then by suggesting you some healthy fruit or vegetable based recipes that offer vitamins, antioxidants and other beneficial factors to help recoup energy spent over the parade of food and drink on tables over the Christmas holiday. Generally you can combine fruit with fruit but also vegetable with fruit if you like the taste. Experiment to see which vegetable or fruit helps you most and select only the best quality, preferably organic. Salute!

Ingredients >
2 large carrots
5cl clear apple juice
1 small apple
2 slices of fresh ginger root

Preparation >
Pour all ingredients into a blender. Blend. Add a scoop of ice (optional), blend till smooth and pour into a highball. Garnish with a wedge of orange and stir it before drinking.

Leftover Champagne? Try a French 75

Posted On January 7, 2007

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The majority of Champagne cocktails served in many restaurants are fruit-flavored drinks like the mimosa and Bellini, and sparkling berry drinks by different names. However, a couple of classic Champagne cocktails are bubbling up on drink menus.

The original Champagne cocktail is made by dropping an Angostura bitters-soaked sugar cube into a Champagne flute and filling with sparkling wine or Champagne. It is one of the few drinks today that is made just as it was when the recipe was first printed in Jerry Thomas’ 1862 book “How to Mix Drinks” believed to be the first published bartending guide.

Another classic Champagne cocktail, the French 75, is commonly altered from the original, and even cocktail historians disagree on what the original was. The drink was named after the French 75 gun used in World WarI, and its creation is credited to U.S. Army officers. It is said that the casings of 75-millimeter shells made good drinking cups.

In his book “Straight Up or On the Rocks: The Story of the American Cocktail” (North Point Press; $12), William Grimes writes > “The drink was originally compounded of Cognac, lime or lemon juice, and simple syrup,” but his accompanying recipe calls for gin instead of the Cognac. In “The Craft of the Cocktail” (Clarkson Potter; $35), cocktail expert Dale DeGroff writes > “The recipe originally called for gin, but it became more popular using brandy,” and his recipe lists brandy as the hard alcohol.

According to several books and Web sites, the French 75, when made with brandy or Cognac, Cognac is brandy produced in the Cognac region of France, should actually be called the French 125. When made with bourbon, it is called the French 95.

French 75

Ingredients >
1 ounce gin
1/2 teaspoon simple syrup infused with Meyer lemon and a touch of cinnamon, see notes
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
4 ounces Champagne
For the Garnish > orange slice and cherry
To make syrup > Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan. Add two strips of lemon peel, preferably Meyer lemon, and a pinch of cinnamon. Bring to boil on high heat. Stir, and when sugar dissolves remove from heat. Cool. Refrigerate in an airtight container.

Procedure >
Shake gin, simple syrup and lemon juice over ice in shaker. Strain into Champagne flute and add Champagne. Add the garnishes. Yields 1 cocktail.

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