Most people love the idea of enjoying a stiff egg nog cocktail over the holidays, but most egg nog is terrible. That’s because the stuff in stores is thick and full of preservatives.
I have come across an amazing homemade egg nog recipe that’s wonderfully silky smooth – and more importantly very easy to make. I have been enjoying this recipe from one of my favorite mixologists, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, every holiday over the years.
Homemade Egg Nog
2 large eggs
3 oz (by volume) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg*
2 oz brandy
2 oz spiced rum
6 oz whole milk
4 oz heavy cream
Beat eggs in blender for one minute on medium speed. Slowly add sugar and blend for one additional minute. With blender still running, add nutmeg, brandy, rum, milk and cream until combined. Chill thoroughly to allow flavors to combine and serve in chilled wine glasses or champagne coupes, grating additional nutmeg on top immediately before serving.
*I prefer to substitute the nutmeg with 1/2 oz of Allspice Dram, also known as Pimento Dram. It is an allspice flavored liqueur originally made in Jamaica and gives the drink that extra holiday kick.
We went to some friends’ house for Easter dinner and they sprung for roasted lamb, so I decided to return the favor with cocktails. Our hostess said she had some homemade limoncello on hand and I wanted to work around that and the lamb.
After pondering what would be a good prelude to lamb, I remembered this tarragon vodka from Sub Rosa Spirits made right here in Portland. After perusing Sub Rosa’s website, I found the perfect drink: the Lemon Blossom. It has limoncello in it and I thought the herbal qualities of the vodka would be perfect. I found the original recipe by Sub Rosa to be a little too tart, so I decided to back off the fresh lemon juice by half and ended up with what I think is a nicely balanced cocktail. Our hosts didn’t complain either.
1 + 1/2 oz Sub Rosa Tarragon vodka
1 oz St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz Limoncello
Fill a shaker with ice. Add the vodka, elderflower liqueur, juice and Limoncello. Cap the shaker and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Strain into a 10 oz chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.
I made this drink first at home with commercially available limoncello. It was good, but it was even better later with the homemade limoncello. If you want to go the extra mile, I suggest you make or get your hands on some of the homemade stuff. There’s a great blog post on cocktailnerd’s site with tasting notes about various limoncellos.
Also, if you want to find out where to buy Sub Rosa Tarragon vodka, visit their website for more information.
One of my favorite restaurants in Portland is Fenouil, and they have this fabulous drink on their menu called the L’Oranger. It’s always reminds me of sitting outside on their patio overlooking Jameson Square on a warm (and dry) spring day. I was so taken with this cocktail that I swiped the menu (as I do) so I could recreate it at home. Here’s my take on Fenouil’s inspired drink.
1 + 1/2 oz 12 Bridges Gin
1/2 oz orgeat syrup
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
2 dashes Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
Fill a shaker with ice. Add the gin, orgeat syrup, juice and bitters (but not the ginger ale). Cap the shaker and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Strain into a 12 oz collins glass filled with ice. Top off with ginger ale. Garnish with an orange slice.
I like to use 12 Bridges Gin (which is made in Portland) because it’s light on the juniper with notes of cucumber, melon and rose petals. I realize 12 Bridges is hard to get outside of Oregon, so you can substitute Hendricks Gin. I also recommend that you use fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and a craft brewed ginger ale like Thomas Kemper versus a mass-produced brand. But make sure you don’t use ginger beer! Here’s to spring.
Being it’s St. Patrick’s day and this is a site devoted to cocktails, it seems fitting that there should be a post about it. In fact, this is the only holiday that is specifically designed around drinking (or at least this is what St. Patrick’s day has come to symbolize). You know, green beer and all of that.
So, if you’re just dying to make a libation in honor of St. Patrick, I will direct you to an interesting cocktail recipe on Imbibe’s site: the Tipperary. Naturally, it features Irish Whiskey but the addition of green Chartreuse makes this one to try. And, of course it’s festive because of the green Chartreuse. I offer a slightly adapted recipe here for convenience:
2 oz John Power & Son Irish whiskey
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
1/2 oz. green Chartreuse
Fill a mixing glass halfway with ice. Add the whiskey, vermouth and green Chartreuse. Gently stir for 20-30 seconds and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Chartreuse is a really amazing spirit—it’s made from 130 plants which have been distilled and blended into a liqueur. It’s also naturally green due to the ingredients. And, it’s made by French Carthusian monks, with the still secret recipe passed down for some 273 years. They made it because they needed the money to help perpetuate their order and dedicate their lives to prayer and meditation. You can read the full history on the Chartreuse website while you’re sipping your Tipperary.
Years ago I came across a recipe for basil-infused Bianco Vermouth, which makes a wonderful summertime drink by adding club soda. It seemed to me that this would also make a nice alternative to regular dry vermouth in a martini. So here it is: the Basil Martini!
3 oz Pearl Vodka
1/4 oz basil-infused Bianco Vermouth
Fill a mixing glass halfway with ice. Add the vodka and vermouth. Gently stir for 20-30 seconds and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a basil leaf and a lemon twist.
I think using basil-infused vermouth is an interesting alternative to infusing the vodka. It’s more of a throwback to a classic martini with a twist. Try it and let me know what you think.