Sunday, November 19, 2006
There are really only 3 good things about the fact that the christmas season now starts well before Thanksgiving, and all of them have to do with drinking: 1. holiday-flavored coffee at Starbucks, 2. winter-seasonal beers, and 3. egg nog.
Yes, the nog! Though the packaging is covered in red and green holly, this is one christmas tradition that can never get here soon enough. Thick and creamy, it may well be the perfect winter drink. You can booze it up and get sloshed, or you can add it to coffee and get caffeinated, and since it's usually served cold it makes a great treat during our desert's 89-degree winter days.
And I'd decided that this would be the year I tried to make some of it myself, having no real idea what went into the process. So a couple of days ago I started looking for egg nog recipes online. Most of what I found didn't quite stir me to excitement and action, until I decided to search the Chow recipe archives. To my surprise and delight, Chow was running a feature on egg nog, complete with recipes and an explanation of why it's ok to age nog in the fridge for weeks on end. Chow, if you don't know, used to be a great new food and cooking magazine, and is now a great online food and cooking magazine. Go check them out.
So this Chow recipe seemed exceedingly simple and sounded great and old-fashioned, since it does call for the nog to be aged 3 weeks in the fridge, allowing for certain chemical processes and flavor melding. So tonight I went out and bought the ingredients, all gung-ho to get my nog on its way to the 3-week mark.
And unless you've got a ton of spare bourbon, rum and cognac laying around, this shit is es'pensive to make. It calls for 1 L of bourbon, 1/2 C rum, 1/2 C cognac, 1 dz eggs, 1 qt milk, 1 C heavy cream, and 2 C sugar. And a pinch of the kosher salt, if you please. Now, if you look very carefully at that first picture, you may notice that I've swapped out the cognac for brandy, and not the good stuff, either. This is the mega-cheap brandy, and it'll peel the skin right off of the insides of your nostrils, I know that. The reason for the switch is that the grocery store didn't have cognac, and I just couldn't be bothered.
I started out following the recipe, separated the dozen eggs (and only 1 of the yokes broke!), added the sugar, and mixed. Then in went the milk, cream and liquor, and mix again. After that it was ready to go into the jug and then the fridge...
And that's when the situation got ugly. Now, I don't happen to own any mixing bowls with a pour spout, and actually all my mixing bowls that are big enough to accommodate this recipe are still over at the Hidden Fortress from James' party. So I used a great big pot. And when I tried to pour from the pot into the funnel into the jug, my beautiful nog went everywhere. So, I got out this little glass pitcher that does have a pour spout, and tried transferring the nog from the pot into the pitcher, and then to pour it into the jug. Well, it still went everywhere, and there just wasn't anything I could do about it. As you can see from the picture, the jug is far from full, and since this recipe is supposed to make a gallon, I estimate that between one-third and one-half ended up on my counter. It is quite tragic.
But now it's safely in the fridge, getting good and old. Check back three weeks from now for news on the tasting!