Some people overdo it. They drink quarts of the stuff, liberally spiked with their poison of choice, for most of December and up to New Year’s Eve. They culminate this excess with a night of drinking that would put the Founding Fathers of America to shame and then spend the next week bitching and complaining through all channels about how much pain their in.
Eggnog’s not mentioned till the end of next year and why? It’s a perfectly decent after-dinner libation and for those of us who don’t binge, I can’t think of why it shouldn’t be enjoyed throughout the season, particularly in light of all this snow we’ve just received.
So, if you’re like me and you still feel like indulging in a bit of ‘nog, read on! I promise you that very little planning or preparation is needed and at the end you will be enjoying a rich and creamy cocktail that is yards ahead of anything you can buy commercially.
First, and most importantly, you need good eggs. While playing Russian Roulette with some factory farm-produced, GMO-loaded eggs might be liberating, I don’t like salmonella bacteria. Besides, organic eggs taste better. I like to go to Fiesta Farms but I’m sure you have a decent purveyor of dairy products in your neighborhood, right?
While you’re there, pick up some cream. Using skim milk misses the whole point of being indulgent.
Now on to your base spirit. In England back in the 17th century, eggnog was considered an aristrocratic drink and mixed with brandy or sherry. When it crossed the pond to America, rum was used because it wasn’t taxed so much and after the American Revolutionary War made that import scarce, local whisky came into favor.
You could pretty much use any of these but I’m going to stick in part with brandy for the purposes of this recipe or, more specifically, calvados which is an apple brandy from the French region of Lower Normandy. While there are several types available at the LCBO, you might as well go with one of the best, Calvados Boulard (296228, 750 mL, $48.65). Produced in the Pays d’Auge area, which has several additional restrictions on top of the requirements of the AOC (French laws governing its production), Boulard is very fine indeed with a bright apple taste and enough earthiness that it won’t get lost amongst the other ingredients.
My second choice was Glenmorangie’s Quinta Ruban (68072, 750 mL, $82.50). There’s a fair bit of fruit and spice to enjoy in this one and I thought the citrus and port notes would play well with the calvados and the star of the show, the St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur (180695, 50 mL, $49.95).
This liqueur has received a lot of hype and the LCBO recently saw fit to put it on their shelves where it promptly sold out. Barring the dozen bottles that seem to be floating around the province, you may have trouble picking it up till the second release date, which is Mar. 5. Whether or not you’re tired of hearing it, there’s no denying it’s a unique product and deserving of at least some of the attention.
The company was also responsible for drawing my attention towards one of their cocktail contest winners, Lindsay Matteson of Portland, Oregon who came up the recipe that was my inspiration for the following cocktail.
Whether you recreate the recipe below or experiment with your own variation (I’ll be the first to admit my take is a bit excessive and not something I’d make regularly), don’t be afraid to use eggs. They impart a rich and textured mouthfeel that cannot be duplicated through other means.
WINTER IN BOWMANVILLE
1 oz Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban
1 oz Calvados Boulard
3/4 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 whole egg
1/2 oz 18% cream
dry shake the first five ingredients
add ice and shake again with the cream
strain into an appropriately festive glass
garnish with a dash of nutmeg