Great grog: the Ultimate Eggnog

December 25, 2003|By KEVIN COWHERD

THERE ARE VERY few columns that offer a Christmas Day present to readers, but you hold one in your hands right now - and not because of any dazzling prose to follow.

No, the gift today is the recipe for the Ultimate Eggnog, which I pass along to add a little holiday cheer to your humdrum lives.

One thing before we go any further: Don't be taken in by that "World's Greatest Eggnog" recipe my friend Rob Kasper trots out in his food column every Christmas.

With all due respect, that nog won't hunt. Believe me, this Ultimate Eggnog is so good, it'll practically make you weep.

The recipe for Ultimate Eggnog was given to me by a family friend, Betty Staniewski, who learned how to make it from her aunt and has been making it for years.

To be honest, the aunt was a little shaky about exactly how much of each ingredient to throw in there. But don't worry about that, because through trial and error, Betty figured out the precise measurements and now what we have is the Rolls-Royce of holiday eggnogs.

And here's the beauty of this recipe: Unlike with Kasper's, there's no heavy lifting involved.

We're not going to be rattling any pots and pans, or beating any egg yolks or mixing in granulated sugar or anything like that.

No, this is strictly a no-hassle, 1-2-3-we're-done eggnog.

OK, enough with the chatter. Let's get started.

To make Ultimate Eggnog, here's what you need:

1/2 gallon of eggnog

1/2 gallon eggnog ice cream

1/2 cup whiskey

1/2 cup bourbon

1/2 cup brandy

Nutmeg to taste

By the way, another beautiful thing about this recipe is: You can go cheap or you can go first-class with the ingredients.

In other words, you can go with High's eggnog and eggnog ice cream, or you can step up to Land O' Lakes eggnog and Edy's ice cream, or any of the fancier gourmet brands.

Same thing with the booze - you can go with top-shelf stuff or the kind of hooch they drink around a trashcan fire at 3 in the morning.

It really doesn't matter. This recipe is so good that either way, you'll come out with a killer eggnog. Trust me on this.

OK, to make Ultimate Eggnog, you begin by throwing a half-gallon of eggnog and a half-gallon of eggnog ice cream into a 1-gallon pitcher. The ice cream should be slightly melted, but still cold and lumpy.

Now we're getting to the good part: the booze.

Some of you, for various reasons, may prefer your eggnog alcohol-free. You may, for instance, have a long drive in front of you.

Or you may be one of those people who simply feels uncomfortable putting his head down on the kitchen table and napping with everyone else around.

Suit yourself. Just don't come whining to me when the nog doesn't taste as good.

See, the thing about the booze is, it helps cut the eggnog. It thins it out, makes it less, well, eggnoggy. It also adds a rich, almost syrupy, taste.

Anyway, if you are going with the booze, throw in a half-cup of whiskey.

And a half-cup of bourbon.

And a half-cup of brandy.

OK, I know that sounds like a lot of booze. I know it sounds like it's enough to leave a crew of lumberjacks passed out under the table, never mind your 80-year-old Uncle Phil.

But, again, you have to trust me.

What we're working with here is a symphony of ingredients that all come together to produce an astonishing holiday beverage.

Or something like that.

Anyway, once you pour the booze in there, stir for a minute or two. But don't go crazy with the stirring - you want this concoction to be cold and lumpy.

Then sprinkle some nutmeg over the whole thing. And drizzle some more brandy over it.

Or sprinkle some brandy and drizzle some nutmeg.

Look, at this point, it really doesn't matter what the sequence is. The main thing is that all the good stuff is already in there, percolating, producing energy.

It's like enriched uranium, and you just added the fuel rods and now the whole thing is ready to go.

Well, almost.

Once you're through with the sprinkling and drizzling, you need to stick the pitcher in the fridge and let it sit for a couple of hours.

Then serve the nog in a nice, festive punch glass or tumbler.

Oh, heck, serve it in anything you want.

Believe me, this stuff is so tasty your guests would slurp it out of jelly jars.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Oh, and don't forget to put a blanket around Uncle Phil.

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