Medieval Europe (1500), maybe
Clyde Common, Portland (2008)

It’s one thing to stir a shot of whiskey, brandy, or rum into some store-bought egg nog. That was good enough for me until I read about this simple homemade technique on Portland bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s blog. Where the commercial variety of egg nog is thick and syrupy, almost gelatinous, this do-it-yourself version is light, silky, and deliciously fattening. Give this to someone who says they hate Egg Nog and you’ll most likely have a convert.

Bourbon gives this the familiar egg-noggy flavor. For a contemporary gourmet spin, try what they’ve been doing at Clyde Common: almost-equal parts añejo tequila (Gran Centenario is a good bargain) and amontillado sherry (look for Lustau). A touch more sherry, a touch less tequila.

Historically, Egg Nog can be traced to Medieval Europe, where warm or cold spiced egg drinks were spiked with wine or sherry. Rum, then whiskey, became the norm as the drink migrated to Colonial America (and George Washington liked his with rye whiskey, rum, and sherry – truly democratic).

THE KIT

Hardware: Electric blender, Jigger, Nutmeg grater or microplane
Glassware: Punch cup
Spirits: Bourbon whiskey (recommended: Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey 81, Four Roses yellow label)
Mixers & Liqueurs: Egg, White sugar, Whole milk, Heavy cream
Juices, Accents, & Garnishes: Whole nutmeg

HOW TO

Chill a punch cup in the freezer at least ten minutes.
In an electric blender, add:
1 whole egg
Blend on high one minute, then add (while blending):
1/4 cup white sugar
Continue blending to mix, then add (while blending):
3 oz whole milk
2 oz heavy cream
2 oz bourbon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Blend to mix, then pour into the chilled glass. Return filled glass to the freezer a few minutes to chill further. Top with additional freshly grated nutmeg.

This also work batched ahead of time in whatever volume you want and stored in the refrigerator – it’ll keep for months. All the way until next Christmas, believe it or not. Aging is perfectly safe and mellows the flavors, boosts sweetness, and makes the texture even more velvety.

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Colonial America (mid-17th century)

When the weather turns colder, there’s few things better than a good Hot Buttered Rum – so long as you make it with real ingredients, not the powdered mix. There’s two parts to this recipe: a batter you’ll make beforehand (then store in an airtight container in the freezer), and the simple drink mix itself.

Hot rum drinks like this were common in Colonial America, but I suspect it took Middle America to perfect it with a decadent sweet-and-spiced butter/ice cream batter. There are countless recipe variations on Hot Buttered Rum – this one comes from my mother-in-law, who used to make it in Seattle (and, by chance, this is very close to the version made at Seattle’s Zig Zag Café). Stick with a good-quality, flavorful, rum like Plantation OFTD (amazing and potent), Appleton or Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black – but Coruba will work, too (don’t be tempted to use a spiced rum, it’ll become a spice bomb). For the bold and adventurous, take it a level up by using Smith & Cross “Navy Strength” 114-proof Jamaican rum – all those toffee & butterscotch flavors in Smith & Cross’s beloved funky hogo really shine in this. Or dive deeper and experiment with a blend of rums – or even rum and brandy – to get your flavor just right.

THE KIT

Hardware: Jigger, Plastic measuring cup, Standing mixer (optional)
Glassware: Ceramic or glass mug
Spirits: Dark Jamaican rum (recommended: Plantation OFTD, Coruba, Hamilton, Smith & Cross)
Mixers & Liqueurs: Hot Buttered Rum Batter (recipe below), Boiling water
Juices, Accents, & Garnishes: Cinnamon stick or fresh nutmeg

HOT BUTTERED RUM BATTER

In a saucepan over medium-low heat (just warm enough to melt the ice cream and butter), add together:
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 lb brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
Stir until well-blended, then pour into an airtight container and freeze. Batter will keep a long time – I have some from a year ago that’s just fine.

HOW TO

Pre-warm a ceramic or glass mug with boiling water while you’re assembling the ingredients. Discard the water, then combine in the mug:
1 1/2 oz dark rum
2 tbl hot buttered rum batter (leave frozen, it’ll melt as you stir)
1/2 cup boiling water (use the plastic measuring cup)
Stir to blend. Garnish with a long cinnamon stick or a dusting of freshly-grated nutmeg.

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