The holidays are here and bring with them all kinds of holiday cheer: Cold weather (maybe?), coniferous trees decorated in ridiculous ornaments with little meaning remembered after two decades of use, kisses from aunts gussied up and older than the aforementioned tree, and cousins drinking all your eggnog. Which brings us to the point of this rambling—you’re in need of more eggnog.
Now, if you’re rushing out to the store to buy some of that pre-made stuff, just know that you’re wrong. Instead of poisoning yourself and your wonderful guests with the white abomination that is ready-made eggnog, buy yourself some eggs, whole milk, and heavy cream instead (oh yes, this is definitely not a healthy holiday drink, but the best ones usually aren’t). Exact recipe is as follows (curtesy of Randy Mosher from Radical Brewing):
4 eggs, separated
½ cup white sugar (for added depth, try dark brown sugar)
1.5 cups whole milk
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
Nutmeg, to taste
Dash of vanilla
Beat yolks with sugar until smooth. Once smooth, add milk and mix well. Beat egg whites until frothy peaks occur. Once peaks are forming, add heavy whipping cream and whip until frothy (this will improve the texture). Combine the yolk mixture with the egg white mixture and mix until smooth. Add nutmeg to taste and a dash of vanilla (I generally triple the recipe and use 1 to 2 whole nutmegs, freshly grated, and 1.5 tsp vanilla to season). Ideally, you should let the mix sit in the fridge for three days prior to consumption, as the taste will be much improved. Shake prior to serving and stiffen with spiced rum, aged rum, or bourbon to taste (you can add the spirits at any time, but I prefer to keep my mix virgin and let guest spike as they see fit).
As good as this eggnog recipe is (you’ll never be able to go back to the horrendous, pre-made dross sold to shmucks at the stores), it also serves as a wonderful base for fun experimentation. There are many other wondrous ways to stiffen your eggnog and get you through the holidays besides the tried and true eggnog staple, bourbon. Beernog, Flip, Yard of Flannel, Crambambull, Humpty Dumpty, Hugmatee, Bellow-Stop, and Hotch-Pot are all great options (and yes, those are all real holiday beer cocktails).
Beernog is about as simple as it gets—2 parts eggnog to 1 part beer (start with 8oz eggnog to 4oz beer). I highly recommend beers whose flavors complement the sweet, creamy, and nutmeg flavors in eggnog. Urban Artifact’s Kicksled was inspired by the above eggnog recipe and features flavors like nutmeg, vanilla, and brown sugar, the perfect complement for Beernog. If you are feeling adventurous, UA’s Tannenbaum, a bourbon barrel-aged malty stock ale with locally-sourced spruce tips, is bold enough to get even the biggest curmudgeon in the holiday spirit. Aside from Urban Artifact beers, I’ve found that big, malty, dark beers work best in Beernog. Barrel-aged stouts, strong porters, and winter warmers are all sure to delight.
If you’re feeling adventurous this holiday season, head to the grocery store, grab your eggnog supplies, and whip yourself up a batch. A couple days later, swing on down to the Urban Artifact taproom, have a pint, take a growler of your favorite beer home, and mix some Beernog of your own. If you end up trying a Beernog combination that works particularly well, drop us a line!
Bret Kollmann Baker
Chief of Brewing Operations