Tradition and Empty Mugs: The Nog.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Okay. It’s a week into 2011, and life has slowed back down. Yoga every day this week, plus long runs along a frozen Han River, tall cups of espresso topped with frothed milk, and podcasts have all played strong roles in my sanity recovery.  And now that I’ve finally caught my breath, maybe I can dive back into memories just past. And dive I will.

Correct me if you can, but I think last year was the first year I tried to experiment with dishes on Christmas Eve. Since it’s one of those meals that people remember, I generally go for my sure-fire recipes (see: desserts, veggie side-dishes). But last year I wanted to test both myself, and others, in trying new recipes. I figured, go big or go home. Since I was home, I was left with only one option: go big.

Knowing full and well that my family is well versed in the kitchen when it comes to entertaining, I decided to hop on the sweet trolly; I wanted to play around with sugar.  I cranked out a pear-tart, some cookies (I think half-moon cookies to be exact), maybe a carrot cake (for my one and only Brenda), and what has become a tradition of mine now: Eggnog.

Eggnog is the kind of drink that you love or hate. Some people just can’t get over the thought of combining alcohol and dairy, and others (like my good friend LZ), can’t get enough of it. I mean, come on, there is a whole line of liquors dedicated to creamy alcohol (see: Bailey’s Irish Cream, White Russians, Kahlua).  Either way, even if you’d said straight to my face “I don’t like Eggnog” I’d have made you try it. It was that good.

So this year, I decided to make it a Christmas tradition: Eggnog with the big meal. Not that eggnog that you buy in stores that’s slightly sweet with a plastic-y taste that lingers in the back of your throat and on the roof of your mouth for about three minutes after a small sip making you question if some of the carton has come off in the drink– no no this is homemade, hand-whipped, adult eggnog. Worth every drop.

“Oh but isn’t eggnog really bad for you because it is just raw eggs?”

Yes it is, omniscient inquiring mind who helped me further my story. That’s something I didn’t quite realize before I started to make the nog. I mean, I knew it, but didn’t really know it until I was cracking and separating eggs into two bowls, hand whipping them until they were creamy and soft peaks (yolk and white, respectively). Still then, I thought maybe I would cook that Salmonella away, but nope, this wintery treat is loaded with dangers (Salmonella and Jim Beam).

After a good twenty minutes of hand-whipping what is essentially meraign, and another twenty making whipped cream, I folded all the ingredients in together to make my tradition complete: from Frosty Upstate New York to Frozen Seoul, Korea.

What sat proudly in my glass, along side my Christmas meal, was complex and rich while maintaining the airy-quality of the meraign. It was sweet without overpowering the delicate dairy flavors. The creaminess balanced against the robust Jim Beam – an ideal winter choice, if I must say.  These two halves of the drink were brought together nicely by the cinnamon sprinkled atop our make-shift mugs.  I’d say LZ might have finished the whole batch, if she’d been here.



5 thoughts on “Tradition and Empty Mugs: The Nog.

  1. I tried the pear tart and loved it right?! Took it to the face? Last night Sophia and I (mostly Sophia while I ran around naked in the background) made an innovative curry that I think you would have loved. After topping it with 500 different hot sauces, of course.

    Not having you home for Christmas was a dessert disaster. Two words: squash cookies.

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