This time of year is one of our favorites! Everywhere you go folks of all ages are giddy with excitement for a few days off and to celebrate meaningful holidays with friends, family and loved ones making their own history.
With all of the social events that surround the holidays, ‘tis the season for holiday merriments and cocktails! Since the festivities have already begun we thought it would be great time to share a few festive cocktail classics and their recipes from some of our friends to make for your holiday gatherings that will be sure to be hits.
1. One of my personal all time favorite historic holiday drinks is homemade eggnog. It is fluffy festive heaven in a cup with the added benefits of protein––can’t get much better than that in my mind. Eggnog has a long history originating in England in the 1800s as a drink for the aristocracy who mixed in brandy, Madeira and sherry. When the beverage made its way to the United States it was a time when brandy was heavily taxed and as a result the brandy was swapped out for rum. There are lots of variations with different liquors making this a versatile drink for every taste and by all means you can make a non alcoholic version as well that is just as tasty.
I am always in the market for a new eggnog recipe and I stumbled up on Chef Marc Collins of Circa 1886, South Carolina’s recipe that he has made for their Progressive Dinner they host every year during the holiday season I had to make it for myself and it is to die for! Whether you’re stocking the bar for a holiday party or planning a cozy night in by the fire with a loved one, this recipe will be sure to get you in the yuletide spirit. This recipe will be sure to be a crowd pleaser—even for the non-nogg lovers.
For the Eggnog:
• 12 large eggs yolks (reserve the whites)
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 liter bourbon
• 1 quart (4 cups) whole milk
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 3/4 cup Cognac or brandy
• 1/2 cup Myers’s dark rum
• Pinch fine salt
• 12 reserved egg whites
• 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
• Freshly grated nutmeg
For the Eggnog: Leave the whites out until they get to room temp reserving until later in the recipe.
Combine the yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until well blended and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. You can place it in the refrigerator for at least 1 week and up to 3 weeks if necessary.
To finish: Next take the egg whites and place them in a very clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a larger bowl. Place the cream in the stand mixer bowl (no need to wash the bowl) and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. Place this in the large bowl. Fold the eggnog base with a rubber spatula to re-combine, and then add it to the punch bowl. Gently whisk the eggnog together until just combined and no large pockets of whites or cream remain (do not over mix or you’ll deflate the eggnog). Garnished with grated nutmeg.
2. Any cocktail that incorporates muddled mint and rum that also happens to have some serious historic roots also gets our nod for must-make holiday traditions. The folks at the historic Paso Robles Inn in Paso Robles, California shared with us their recipe for “A Fresh Start”, one of nine specialty cocktails they offer inspired by the inn’s history. The inspiration for, “A Fresh Start” dates back to the beginning of Paso Robles and the Paso Robles Inn.
In 1857, founders Daniel and James Blackburn came from West Virginia to California to strike it rich in the gold fields. That success provided them with the money to purchase Rancho El Paso de Robles, which included the naturally flowing hot springs and a stagecoach stop. However, gangs of lawless men roamed the countryside robbing stages and wagons. Soon Daniel joined the “Vigilance Committee” whose goal it was to stop the lawlessness- and he was soon made Sheriff. Now that stagecoaches could travel safely through the area, more people stopped in Paso Robles. For the next two decades, the Blackburn’s made improvements to the “resort” and the fame started to grow.
Here is the recipe for “A Fresh Start”:
In a Collins glass:
Muddled mint and cucumber
1 1/4 Bacardi over ice
2 oz Sprite
Splash sweet sour
It did not take much convincing us to whip up some of our very own “Fresh Starts” and they were most certainly refreshing and delicious––here is to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2015!
3. The last drink we are going to share we stumbled upon by accident last week, while I was treating Peter to a birthday massageat The Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond in Saint Michaels, Maryland, which is one of our favorite local places to eat and get spa treatments. I met the bartender Laura and picked her brain about what specialty drinks she had to offer and discovered a bevy of cocktail-classics. Sadly, their holiday inspired cocktail menu was not available yet, but I ordered a “Perry Spiced Mule”, which is a modern twist on the historic, “Moscow Mule” and of course inspired by the inn’s two and half centuries of existence. It was yummy, spicy and carbonated and easy to make at home!
Here is the recipe for the “Perry Spiced Mule”:
In a Collins glass:
1 1/4 Spiced Rum over ice
2 oz “Fever-Tree” Ginger Beer
Splash Amaro Liqueur
Lime Wheel garnish