Micky’s cocktail cabinet: Eggnog

Whipped Cream and Stick AWITH Christmas just around the corner, now is the perfect time to learn the quintessential Christmas cocktail: eggnog.

Ingredients

(1 shot = 30 ml/1 fl. oz)

0 – 2½ shots of bourbon, dark rum, brandy, or cognac
2 shots of milk
½ shot of double cream
½ shot of sugar syrup (2:1 ratio) or 1 shot (1:1 ratio)
1 egg

You have a lot of choice in how you go about inserting alcohol into the equation. The classic eggnog recipe calls for bourbon, but other types of whiskey, dark rum, brandy and cognac are all popular alternatives; of course, you can easily have it without any alcohol at all. If you are using alcohol, how much you include varies depending on your own tastes, though I wouldn’t recommend going over 2½ shots (which is personally how I make mine, and I can attest that it tastes very strongly of alcohol and any more would overpower the rest of the flavours).

As always, for anyone lacking sugar syrup, there’s a handy guide available.

A point of warning in regards to using eggs (especially if you want to have your eggnog cold): always use eggs with the British Lion mark (a red lion – which most supermarket eggs have) and only use eggs that have been freshly purchased and refrigerated. Although it’s unlikely, there’s no need to risk picking up an illness off of a cocktail.

The Recipe

…Hot method A: Saucepan

Take all of your ingredients and mix them thoroughly. In particular, you’re going to want to make sure the egg is well mixed, since any unmixed bits of egg are going to turn into what is essentially scrambled egg.

Put your mixture into a saucepan and place over a low-to-medium heat. Heat for approximately 5 minutes (or longer if you’re making more than one serving) and make sure its temperature doesn’t reach a simmer. Once warm, carefully pour through a strainer (to pick up any bits of egg) into a heatproof glass/mug.

This is my preferred method for making eggnog in big batches, since saucepans lend themselves well to a larger quantity of ingredients than in the alternative methods.

…Hot method B: Microwave

Place your ingredients into a heatproof glass/mug and mix thoroughly. Put the glass into a microwave and warm for 45-60 seconds (depending on the strength of your microwave). Stir again and if it is still not warm, put it back in for another 15-30 seconds (or until it is warm, just make sure not to boil it).

Optional: If you do spot any floating bits of egg – or you just want to be on the safe side – strain into another heatproof glass/mug.

…Cold method A: Cocktail shaker

Take all of the ingredients and place them into a cocktail shaker without ice. Shake vigorously for about a minute. You’ll want to do an iceless shake to get the egg to mix with the other ingredients. After the first shake, add ice and shake again for 30-60 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled glass.

…Cold Method B: Hot Method Then Fridge

A fairly self-explanatory way of doing things. Make eggnog using one of the hot methods above and allow to cool in the fridge. This is especially prudent for anyone with a fear of or sensitivity to raw eggs.

To garnish

You have a wealth of options here. Dusting it with a ½ a teaspoon of nutmeg and/or cinnamon is a classic way to start. You can also drop in a cinnamon stick or even a stick-shaped chocolate bar (such as a flake), and for added indulgence, there’s always whipped cream.

Variations

…Baileys (or Irish Cream in general)

You can substitute the cream for Baileys. In particular, there are some nice flavoured Baileys varieties out there (like fudge! My favourite, personally) for a little added adventure.

…Amaretto

Amaretto tends to go well with all milky/creamy cocktails and eggnog is no exception. My preferred mixture is 1 shot of amaretto and 1½ shots of dark rum, but you can tailor the amount you add to your personal preferences, and of course, amaretto can serve fine as the main alcohol.

…Soy or almond milk

Soy milk and almond milk can comfortably replace the milk in this recipe, both for the lactose intolerant but also for anyone who wants to experience a different flavour.

…Chocolate

Chocolate can easily be added to the hot recipe in place of the sugar syrup. Ideally you should break the chocolate into small parts or even grate it, since the mixture shouldn’t be reaching a hot enough temperature that a chunk of chocolate would melt easily.

…Nutmeg and/or cinnamon

Although they’re traditionally relegated to being lightly dusted on top as a garnish, you can happily add a teaspoon to the main recipe for spicier eggnog.

…Honey

Using the hot methods (or cold method B), a tablespoon of honey can be added in place of the sugar syrup. A handy alternative for anyone who doesn’t have the sugar syrup on hand.

…Eggnog caffè latte

The standard eggnog recipe easily serves as a base for lattes. The easiest method is to make your coffee and eggnog separately. Once prepared, combine and stir.

…Eggnog tea

Tea can easily be added when using Hot Method A. Simply place the tea bag (or mesh holder if you’re using loose leaves) and let it soak whilst the mixture warms. An alternative method is to prepare a saucepan of milk with a teabag separately, then making the eggnog with the tea-infused milk. However, you’re going to need more than 2 shots of milk when you’re preparing it this way, so I only recommend going about this if you’re making a big batch (or using the tea-infused milk for alternative purposes anyway). Whilst I use the term ‘tea’ here to refer to the traditional British tea, there’s no reason to let that stop you from experimenting with other tea varieties. My personal recommendation: spiced chai. I tried it on a whim whilst making this article and now I won’t shut up about it!