Waiting for the Nog

If you took my advice six weeks ago and whipped up a batch of Alton Brown’s Aged Eggnog, then congratulations: You’re more than halfway there.

Ten weeks is a long time to wait to taste a drink you created (although the Liqueur de Fargiole I’m currently making takes four full months). And the calendar stretch between early October and Christmas Day includes a whole lot of occasions when you’ll be tempted to say to hell with it and crack open your stash of Nog.

Do so if you must; Alton says it’s drinkable after six weeks, although it will be better after another month of aging.

If you elect to stay the course, though, I’m ready to help you through the difficult days ahead with three cocktails—all somewhat Noggish, and all ready to consume on the spot.

You might remember that Eggnog is a descendant of 13th century concoction called posset, a mixture of warm milk and ale that was consumed more as medicine than refreshment. In between came the Flip, popular in the early American colonies, in which beer, rum, and sugar were mixed together and frothed using a red-hot fireplace poker. As the authors of Cocktail Codex note, later iterations of the Flip ditched the poker, substituted egg for the beer, and was served cold.

The Portside Flip is my variation on the Codex‘s Our Ideal Flip, using port wine instead of sherry and simple syrup instead of Demerara gum syrup. Raw egg is preferable if you’re not immune-compromised and willing to accept the tiny risk of illness; otherwise, pasteurized eggs from a carton are fine. Both result in a thick, sweet-yet-tangy drink that’s perfect as you sit before a roaring blaze, using the fireplace poker for its intended purpose.

If egg in a cocktail doesn’t make you flip, consider moving down the dairy aisle. The Brandy Alexander is a cream-rich classic with all the usual conflicting origin stories. Was it named after Russian Czar Alexander II? Theater critic Alexander Woollcott? Or Troy Alexander, the New York bartender said to have invented it in the early 1900s? (Gary Regan, in The Joy of Mixology, says the drink was originally called the Panama, which is … strange.) Regardless, this is one of those cold drinks that will keep you warm well into the long nights of the approaching solstice.

Finally, and somewhat oddly, I offer Michigan’s state drink: the Hummer, which is basically a rum and Kahlua milkshake, invented in 1968 by Jerome Adams at Detroit’s Bayview Yacht Club and now, according to Punch, “sating everyone from grandmothers to sailors.” This one won’t warm you up, but if you consume as many as your temptation tells you, it will definitely knock you out.

Portside Flip

2 ounces Graham’s Six Grapes Reservo Porto (or other port)
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 egg
Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish

Combine port, syrup, and egg and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Add ice and shake for another 30 seconds. Strain into chilled wine glass and garnish with a bit of freshly grated nutmeg.

Brandy Alexander

Adapted from Cocktails by Michael Brunelle

3/4 ounce brandy
3/4 ounce creme de cacao
3/4 ounce half and half or heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish

Shake liquid ingredients with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg.

The Hummer

Adapted from Punch

1 1/2 ounces white rum
1 1/2 ounces Kahlua
2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Add all ingredients to a blender. Add two ice cubes and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled rocks glass.

One thought on “Waiting for the Nog”

  1. Mike, I have a batch of aged nog biding its time in the refrigerator until Christmas. Since the recipe made a bit more than I could fit in the quart bottle, we had a small partial bottle that we drank over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was quite good, made better by grating fresh nutmeg over it. I look forward to sampling the rest after it has aged for an additional month,

    Speaking of eggs, many cocktails that are meant to be shaken include egg white to help maintain the foamy texture. When I tended bar at the Downtowner Hotel in Boise, Idaho (many many years ago) I learned to make the Ramos Fizz. We shook up dozens of this famous New Orleans cocktail for just the few days each year that the hotel hosted the Idaho Cattleman’s convention. These rowdy cowboys partied late into the night, and every morning they were lined up when the bar opened at about ten a.m. for their foamy Ramos Fizz breakfast. The egg whites do not add any flavor to this gin-based cocktail, but I assume that adding the egg yolk along with the white probably would. The addition does change the name of the drink from the Ramos Fizz to the Golden Fizz.

    The only other eggy cocktail I made was at Peter Schott’s Restaurant in the old Idanha Hotel a few years later. One of my dear cocktail waitresses showed up begging for a hangover remedy, so I convinced her to try a Sherry Flip. One egg, sherry, and some sugar, shaken and strained into a sherry glass, looked and tasted like raw pancake batter. Jody managed to down about half of it and then disappeared for a while. Old Mr. Boston mentions the addition of a couple teaspoons of light cream, maybe that would be an improvement.

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