Egg nog’s roots in America go back to colonial days, when it kept pioneers toasty during the frigid winters. The name most likely comes from a combination of egg and grog, which was a name for rum, or perhaps even egg and noggin, which was a medieval wooden mug. The combination of egg, cream, liquor, and rich spices like nutmeg and cinnamon was a common cold-weather drink throughout the 19th century.
The recipe for egg nog sounds suspiciously similar to that of a flip, but there is one important distinction between the two: cream. Although egg nog, and creamy drinks in general, usually only appears during the last two months of the year, the aromatic spices truly connote the holidays. Just bear in mind that this category of drink, particularly the traditional boozy nog in a giant punch bowl, can deliver a wallop to guests. Proceed with caution.
By Jerry Thomas, circa 1860s
2 oz. brandy
1 oz. Cruzan Single Barrel rum
3 oz. cold whole milk
1 whole egg
1 tbsp. superfine sugar
1 tbsp. cold water
Combine ingredients with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a tumbler and garnish with a sprinkle of ground nutmeg.
(Note: Substituting half-and-half for milk will make a thicker, creamier drink. Using brown sugar in place of superfine will provide more depth of flavor.)
By Michael Trujillo
1 oz. Skyy Infusions Ginger vodka
1 oz. Faretti Biscotti Famosi liqueur
1/2 oz. demerara cane-sugar syrup*
1 bar spoon of molasses (cut 50/50 with water)
1 oz. cream
Combine ingredients with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass crusted with a mixture of crushed gingerbread cookies, fresh-ground nutmeg, and cinnamon. Garnish with orange peel.
*To make demerara cane-sugar syrup, bring 2 cups of demerara cane sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil. Cool completely and store at room temperature in an airtight glass container.
PUMPKIN PIE MARTINI
By Armando Rosario
1 oz. vanilla vodka
1/2 oz. Goldschläger cinnamon schnapps
1/2 oz. Baileys Irish Cream
1 oz. pumpkin puree
Combine ingredients with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with cinnamon and graham-cracker crumbs (optional).