Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Little Egg for your Noggin

I have another guilty pleasure confession to make: I love egg nog. Yes, egg nog is one of those cocktails that is all about the cream and the egg and the milk and not so much about the character of the spirits, a trait which I emphasized in my series on classic whiskey cocktails. But is there anything more comforting than a sweet, thick glass of egg nog around Christmas time?

In general, I don't partake of packaged egg nog, with the exception of Broguiere's lusciously thick and rich nog. But Broguiere's, for me, is more of a dessert and is better consumed straight than cut with alcohol.

For my own alcoholic nog, my go-to recipe is an old Craig Claiborne New York Times recipe that was republished last year. It's full of whipped egg whites and whipped cream such that the resulting nog is like drinking a fluffy, alcoholic cloud. It's so thick, you need to eat it with a spoon; in fact, it probably qualifies as more of a mousse than a nog, but it is heavenly.

Now the Claiborne recipe is wonderful, but it is fairly labor intensive with all the beating and such. For a quicker, thinner but very tasty nog, you can't go wrong with this recipe by cocktail expert Jeffrey Morgenthaler. The most beautiful thing about it is that the whole thing can be made in a blender!

Interestingly, while the NYT article recommends equal parts brandy and Bourbon, Morganthaler uses equal parts brandy and rum. I've tried both of these combinations and they are both delicious. As I noted above, egg nog is really less about spirits and more about sweetness and texture, so in the end, the choice of spirit is less important than in some cocktails.

Now allow me to raise my glass and wish you all good cheer.

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