In a shot: Huge blog entry about Eggnog, the holidays and whatever else is on my mind!
Every Christmas season, the world slows down and speeds up simultaneously. There's been an insane fluctuation of flukes around where I live. Ranging from cars crashing directly in front of my street, power grids failing thus shutting down electricity around the entire city, a condo-association sending violations to our land lord because a gift my family gave me was too big (Sometimes the world just has too much fire wood to burn), three computers failing on me in the span of mere months, friend/family personal tragedies, a nose (a precious nose when regarding my profession and passion) that has been stopped up and a hot mess as far back as studying for my Bourbon tasting, a back that has given out to the point where I, for the first time in my life, genuinely feel gripped by the mercy of physical limitation and tips of ice burgs and so forth. The butter cream on the sweetest treat was the loss of so many luminaries; Dennis Hopper, Gary Coleman, Greg Giraldo, Micheal "Eyedea" Larsen, Dandy Don Meredith & Leslie Nielson are all gone this year, leaving their own legacies in their own merits. Yet, I am filled with love, content and excitement for the holidays! YAY!
Folks have given me so much love this year too, ranging from small bill pick ups, treats from my family, a simple gas tank refill, the occasional gift card, video games, movies, cd's, staff members bringing me cold medicine when I was down and out and folks hooking me up with back pain remedies, A COMPUTER, fire wood for the house to all the people bringing me samples of food, beer, wine, sake, whiskey, touristy spirit commodities and the like. I've had the chance to see friends and family I haven't seen in years this 2010 and there is so much to be grateful for.
And so goes the interesting whirlwind of emotional roller coaster riding that the month of December strangely brings. It creates a year's worth of reflection and review that shines as brightly as small clouds surface quietly. This balance heightens during the holiday season with everybody hurrying around to get themselves set up with all the right decorations, presents, meals and arriving on the right dates to the right places while maintaining their work and personal lives.
There's also a steady misconception going around here that the holiday classic drink, Eggnog, is horribly bad for you. Primarily due to it's obvious ingredients (Milk, Eggs, Sugar and in many cases, dark liqour). It translates to high cholesterol, empty calories, massive amounts of sugar, natural impurities and fat, fat, fat and more fat. Obviously a lot of this is very true and there is no argument that it's a little indulging. This is especially true for purchasing a store bought, pre-made product which will always call for a far less superior product. I recently came across a canned (yes....CANNED) Eggnog that stated on the front that it was made with real milk and cream......I read the back and the first dead give away that something wasn't right was it's first ingredient.....SKIM milk. So this is already starting off with a modified version of it's main "real" ingredient. It tags on corn syrup solids, mono and diglycerides (chemicals that act as emulsifiers in place of hand whisking and heat tempering ingredients), artificial flavors (whatever they are), sodium alginate, sodium hexametaphosphate (also used in detergents), carrageenan (a gelatinous by product from red seaweed also used as the acid saliva in the Alien movies and apparantly makes a great sexual lubricant) and of course, fd&c yellow dye number five and six.
I present, a simple blend of egg yolk and sugar, tempered by organic milk spiced with cinnamon, vanilla and freshly grated nutmeg (aside from locally produced or organic ingredients, THE KEY ELEMENT) - alone, equals less than a slice of cake and blended with a quality dark spirit brings warmth to a holiday season, brings a smile to many faces, brings a surprise to any heart and an uprising to every spirit that says "I know that this, that and the other happened today.....but this, that and the other just happened in my glass, thus all I can think of is the greater thus, that and the next!"
A real glass of home made Eggnog is thick, aromatic, warming, sweet and fulfilling. That's the reason you ONLY see it during the winter seasons in this country! It's designed for celebration and moderation.
In the Johnny's Nog recipe, locally farmed, free range chicken egg yolk's, sugar and a locally produced cream are the active ingedients, but the real culprit to a great Eggnog out side of using the best eggs and fantastic milk/sugar you can get your hands on, but how long you temper eggs/sugar to warm spiced cream. If you allow the eggs and sugar to heat up for too long, the eggs will scramble, if you do it for too little, then it's thin and watery. It's a time honouring process made with love. It's served cold and with freshly grated nutmeg (which brings the drink to the next level)
When asked what spirit to use, it's really up to the drinker. I suggest leaving the spirit out and adding some to the brew based on particular choice. Lots of people enjoy Eggnog without any spirits, this is a great treat for kids during the holidays. In the old days (and the old world for that matter), before Eggnog was called Eggnog, a milk and egg punch was traditionally made with red wine or sherry during the Christmas and New Year's holidays. When it arrived to the states, we started using what was widely available during the time period. It was here where we started adding rum into the mix which, legend has it, is where the drink received it's final and formal name. Back then, rum was often referred to as Grog and the drink was put in a mug called a noggin. So it's very possible that Eggnog is a shortened bastardization of "Egg n' Grog in a Noggin"! Eventually someone came along and added brandy to the drink and tried to call it a "Tom & Jerry" - That one didn't stick as much as Eggnog. George Washington did a combination of whiskey, rum and sherry that was apparently very strong with an added dosage of cheer! I personally believe that Eggnog is a dessert, it's supposed to be thick, filling, sweet and strong. Get a high proof whiskey, apple brandy or even the black label Southern Comfort and add an ounce and a quarter to your Nog. Whatever you choose, make sure it's a dark spirit and you won't be disappointed. Happy holiday's everybody stop on by before Christmas runs through, you HAVE to try my Nog, it's divine!