The cocktail is an art form that peaked in the middle of the 20th century and has been in rapid decline since. As a young lad, I was schooled in the fine art of cocktailing by my father and grandfathers, I learned many valuable lessons that I plan to pass on. I also want to resurrect some of the old classics that vastly surpass the sugary & fruity concoctions made today with their simplicity, elegance and bold flavors. Most of the time I will focus on one drink, and to provide, at least in my opinion, the definitive recipe, but hope to expand to other related topics as I see fit. Please mix yourself a cocktail, read, drink, and enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2011


No list of Christmas cocktails would be complete without this merry classic. I know a few of my faithful followers are wondering if this is THE eggnog recipe, and the answer is no, I’ll take that one to the grave with me as it is my signature Christmas gift and if I gave it up, I would be forced to use my creative juices on Christmas shopping for my friends every year, thereby further neglecting my duties here. This is however a great version steeped in history and suitable for a single cup or as a large batch (my recommendation). Before we get to the details, a little history.

Once again we are presented with a handful of tales, innuendo and flat out lies about where this drink came from. One version has it as a drunken conjunction of “egg and grog,” easily slurred to eggnog after a few merry rounds of rum based heaven by a mutinous crew. In the more civilized version of the story it came across the Atlantic to the colonies from England in the 18th century where it was popular with the aristocracy who were the only ones able to get eggs and dairy products, they mixed it with brandy and sherry. In the new world it was mixed with rum due to its abundance and low cost. After the Revolutionary War, locally produced spirits were substituted.

This would explain why there is no definitive liquor choice when it comes to eggnog. Rum, brandy and bourbon are all good options individually or in some combination. As a true patriot I am going to use bourbon, but as the picture above illustrates rum is a great option. I am going to once again rely on my old friend David Embury here, as his recipe provided a starting point that I fine-tuned to my liking. He also has some good pointers on how to properly mix the ingredients. Start by cracking an egg into a cocktail shaker, add two teaspoons of superfine sugar, whisk together until the egg is slightly frothy. Add six ounces of half and half and bourbon (or your liquor of choice). Fill with ice and shake, pour into an old fashioned or Tom Collins glass (never serve over ice), garnish with some freshly grated nutmeg. This recipe is for a single cup, but should be increased to match the size of your gathering using a large pitcher. Eggnog is a drink made for sharing with friends, although it is also a welcome companion when you are awake at 1:00 AM Christmas morning, trying to put together that god damn, million piece train set for your kid who will be jumping on your bed in three hours.

1 egg
2 tsp superfine sugar
2 oz bourbon, rum, or brandy
6 oz half and half
Place egg and sugar into an empty shaker (or large pitcher for multiple batches), whisk until frothy. Add bourbon, half and half, ice and mix. Strain into individual glasses or a serving pitcher. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

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