The adage “It’s five o’clock somewhere,” holds especially true during the holiday season. With all of the shopping, trying to get things done at the office before everyone is out for the holidays, waiting in lines at the post office, and seeing friends and family (some more welcome then others), everyone could use a nice stiff drink at the end of almost every day between Thanksgiving and New Years. Which is not to say that you should turn into an alcoholic.
What you should do, is take this as a well-timed opportunity to try out some new festive drink recipes to help you kick back at the end of the day. Who knows, you might even stumble across something to share with holiday guests in need of a little pick-me-up after hours in traffic. Not to mention, a little alcohol never hurt small talk.
Armed with a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon after my victory at the Cookie Takedown (and by the way, this eggnog tastes great with chocolate chip cookies), I set into this task whole-heartedly with my first attempt at homemade eggnog. I admit, the idea of drinking raw egg was somewhat off-putting, but I made the completely unscientific decision that if I bought organic eggs I wouldn’t be at risk of salmonella poisoning, and set to whisking away.
The results were great and made me wonder how supermarkets get away with calling the pre-made egg-less junk they sell eggnog. If you want something like what you get at the supermarket, you will be disappointed by this recipe. It is lighter, more fragrant, and doesn’t leave a film in your mouth. If this is what salmonella tastes like, I am totally cool with it. Just make sure you have health insurance before you indulge.
This drink is fantastic on its own, but the addition of the candied bacon puts it really over the top. I’m sure regular cooked bacon would be more than fine, but if you want to go the extra mile in flavor, you really have to candy it. Just follow the directions for the bacon in this recipe, but don’t bother weaving it. When it’s nice and crispy, it is ready for drink garnishing. It also doubles well as a stirrer should your eggnog begin to separate. Now go, eat, drink, be a porker, be merry!
Maple Bourbon Eggnog
Adapted from Serious Eats
Makes 12 generous, holiday-appropriate servings or 16 skimpy servings that are not substantial enough for a dinner with lots of family
8 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups bourbon (Using this much gives the eggnog one hell of a kick, so cut back if you want a milder alcohol flavor.)
large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
small pinch of ground cloves
16 strips candied bacon
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on low until frothy. This should take about 30 seconds. Continue to whisk on medium-high speed until the eggs are light and fluffy, like shaving cream. This should take about 90 seconds.
With the mixer still running, add half of the maple syrup and half of the sugar. Mix briefly, just until incorporated. Then move the egg white mixture to a large bowl.
Without washing the mixing bowl, place the egg yolks and remaining maple syrup and sugar in the bowl and mix on medium-high speed until the mixture is ribbony and pale yellow. This should take about 2 minutes, and you should occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the milk, cream, spices, and alcohol. Mix on low speed just to combine.
Fold the egg whites into the mixture. This will result in a strange mixture that is lumpy and frothy at the same time. But you must persist until the mixture is more or less uniform!
Pour into a fancy schmancy cup, garnish with nutmeg and maple syrup, place a piece of bacon over the rim, and drink up. You will be rosy-cheeked and merry before you know it, unless you truly are a Grinch. Though with enough of these frothy delicious concoctions, I’m sure even the most Holiday-hating Grinches could be turned into jolly drunk carolers.