For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with eggnog. As a kid I looked forward to that time of year when the grocery store dairy case was stocked with delicious cartons of thick, gelatinous, over-processed nonalcoholic eggnog. My parents would dole it out to me in tiny portions as a treat, because had they not, I would have consumed a quart in one sitting.
My obsession with the stuff is even so bad that I, a citizen of Portland, the city that boasts the greatest coffee on earth, will visit a well known and poorly regarded coffee conglomerate once a year for an eggnog latte. The shame.
About fifteen or so years ago, when I began taking this whole bartending thing seriously, I knew I needed to make the world’s greatest eggnog. So I did a little research. It turns out that eggnog, at its core, is nothing more than what’s known as a “Flip” (spirit, sugar, and whole egg, shaken and served with a little nutmeg on top) with the addition of some cream or milk. So immediately I knew I could do away with those recipes that called for separating the whites from the yolks, beating them separately, and then folding the mixture together with some heavy cream. This is a cocktail, not a merengue.
Since I typically make eggnog in large batches, I hit upon the idea of making the drink in a stand mixer, or a blender running on low speed. It’s hardly blasphemous, as some have suggested, and I feel that it’s a time-saving technique that sacrifices nothing in terms of flavor while making for a much more uniform texture.
However, unlike when I was a kid, I get to add some booze to my beloved nog. For that, I look abroad. Añejo tequila drinks like a fine aged brandy because, well, it technically is. And amontillado Sherry brings a certain nuttiness to the party that pairs well with the combination of aged tequila, cream, sugar, and nutmeg. Our tequila-sherry eggnog at Clyde Common is a drink that brings people in from miles away every year. It’s been such a hit locally that our artisan ice cream shop, Salt & Straw, produces an ice cream flavor based on our recipe every year around this time.
2 large eggs
3 oz. (by volume) superfine or baker’s sugar
2 oz. añejo tequila
2½ oz. Amontillado sherry
6 oz. whole milk
4 oz. heavy cream
In a blender or stand mixer on low speed, beat eggs until smooth. Slowly add sugar until incorporated and dissolved. Add sherry, tequila, milk and cream. Refrigerate overnight if possible and serve in small chilled cups. Dust with freshly grated nutmeg before serving.
Jeffrey Morgenthaler is the bar manager at Pépé le Moko and Clyde Common, the acclaimed gastropub at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon. He is also author of The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique.