This time of year can be really tough for a lot of people. I’m talking, of course, about those who have to listen to me go on and on about how much I love Eggnog. The topic starts sometime around Halloween, and goes on until just after New Year’s Day, when I’m usually so bloated and overstuffed that I have no desire to ever see a frosty glass of nutmeg-dusted Nog ever again.
But part of me wishes I could drink Eggnog all year round. I mean, think about it, if only it were a little lighter-bodied, it would make a great little brunch drink. Sure, I’d need to go for a pretty long swim after a glass of the stuff and a plate of French toast, but it would be delicious nonetheless.
Fortunately, there is a lighter version of Eggnog that’s acceptable to drink all year ‘round, and that’s the Brandy Milk Punch. I might get into trouble for oversimplifying this, but if Eggnog is nothing more than a Flip (spirit, sugar, whole egg, nutmeg) with the addition of milk or cream, then I would say that the Brandy Milk Punch is little more than Eggnog minus the egg.
Think about it, a nice spirit (or two), sweetened up a little, some fresh half and half or full-fat milk, maybe a dash or two of vanilla, and a little nutmeg? That’s a drink you can sip all year round that may just be one of the best brunch cocktails ever made. In fact, I like it so much I might even shut up about the damn Eggnog for a short time.
Brandy Milk Punch
• 1 oz. brandy (you can use Cognac here, but the American stuff works just fine)
• ½ oz. Jamaican rum (I reach for Smith and Cross, a nice and funky Jamaican rum)
• ½ oz. 2:1 simple syrup
• 2 oz. half and half or whole milk
• 2 dashes vanilla extract
Combine ingredients and shake with ice until cold. Strain over fresh ice in a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Grate fresh nutmeg on top and serve.
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.
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