In the last ten to fifteen years its been hard not to notice a significant increase in the number of gardens displaying ghoulish Halloween models from late September onwards or the sheer number of homes bedecked in streams of twinkling lights with Inflatable Snowmen and Reindeer guarding the front door. The finger, probably large & foam, can be pointed fairly and squarely at the good ol' USA.
Uncle Sam's Classic holiday traditions, that we are well accustomed to seeing on the silver screen, have steadily taken hold in our realities. In fact this is true to such an extent, that its highly probable you are currently living in a house that can quite possibly be seen from space. Of course, whether you embrace this décor personally or merely go along with the will of those in power, aka the kids, is irrelevant.
In spite of all this over exposure, far removed from the timeless beauty of a simple Christmas tree. Our Cousin's across the Pond have given us a classic holiday tradition that I will happily accept, and that tradition is Eggnog. The American as Apple Pie, Christmas delight that has quietly made its way to the UK, Europe and even Australia, where its popularity is said to mirror that of its home nation.
My introduction to the 'nog came, of course, through American Pop Culture. I was 9 years old when I first saw National Lampoons Christmas Vacation in 1990, it had been released the year before and having been a fan of the original Vacation movie, I waited as patiently as I could to rent a copy on VHS from the local video store, which back then was housed in the back of an Ice Cream Shop. (Who else remembers being "fined" for not rewinding your rental?) No 4K UHD or streaming services back then.
Whenever Eggnog is mentioned the image above, showing our hero Clark W Griswald sharing some delicious creamy Eggnog with Uncle Eddie, from two Marty Moose Glasses no less, instantly comes to mind! Classic Christmas Nostalgia right there!
So with some artistic license, we zip forward to December 2010. A 29 year old version of the kid from 1990 has recently become a father and despite my son being only few weeks old at the time, I was keen to get started in replicating some of my amazing childhood Christmas memories for my own Boy. A major part of that plan involved whipping up a homemade batch of Boozy Eggnog, solely intended for my enjoyment.
The Internet is crammed with Eggnog recipes, so it wasn't difficult to get a rundown of ingredients & a fairly simple method that came recommended with an abundance of little gold stars underneath. Armed with my ingredients and all the pots, pans, wooden spoons and spatulas I would ever need, I set about whipping up my soon to be traditional and unforgettable, for all the wrong reasons, Eggnog.
Milk, cream, eggs and Booze.. Whipped, whisked, folded and chilled. Seemed kind of simple, but that's meant to be true of the best things. So undeterred I stuck the finished article in the fridge to chill and thicken. I did think that a recipe calling for 3-4 cups of everything was a bit extravagant, but then maybe it was best to make a lot, for visitors and any soon to be adoring fans who would beg me to whip up more and more batches.
After allowing the mixture to thicken, I sampled a large glass full, which I dusted off with Nutmeg. It was everything the recipe said it would be, thick, creamy, boozy and far too easy to drink. It turned out to be a very merry Christmas Eve! Then finally, as it does every year, Christmas Day was upon us.
Jumping out of bed like an electrified lamp post, I excitedly ran down the stairs to see what Santa had brought. A quick look around the living room, the exchange of a Merry Christmas or two and some excited opening of presents took place. Then it hit me, the familiar feeling of that intestinal heatewave and a cramps that would rival a contraction. Suddenly drenched in sweat I fought my way through a blizzard of wrapping paper, clutching my stomach all the while taking care not to step on the baby.
I ran back up the stairs with considerably more haste to my step than I had displayed on my descent, just a short time before. Arriving at the Big White Throne, I lept toward the toilet while performing a midair 180 and slam dunked my now bare ass onto the seat. With no recollection of how I debunked my Daddy Pig pyjama bottoms prior to adopting my current position, I settled in to what would be my home for most of Christmas morning.
The silence of my situation was broken only by my thoughts on just how fresh those eggs actually were and the occasional sounds of my Wife's laughter wafting up the stairs as she continually retold my tale of misfortune to any friends & relatives calling with Christmas wishes. I'm convinced she even placed a few calls herself, a fact she continues to deny.
Remarkably my love affair with Eggnog didn't suffer as a result, although I have played it safe ever since, using Borden's pre mixed cartons of Eggnog in place of a homemade recipe.
The high price of Borden's coupled with a lack of online retailers offering it or a similar brand for sale has lead to some difficult decisions. Now that Christmas is only weeks away, I have had to take the plunge and go native again. So playing it as safe as possible, I have found a Hybrid recipe of sorts, which after whipping up an experimental batch, in the bathroom, has proven fairly safe for consumption.
Having finally discarded the mental and physical scars that baby wipes inflicted upon my tender derrière that fateful Christmas Day, I have decided to get back in the eggnog saddle. They do say to face your fears.
I found this recipe on the Baileys website. The original Baileys Irish Cream drink is probably the closest thing to Eggnog in a bottle that I can get in this part of the World. As Baileys already contains milk, the recipe is extremely straight forward and I had all the ingredients I would need in stock already.
35ml of Baileys Irish Cream
25ml of Irish Whiskey
Nutmeg to finish.
Wanting to use only the finest ingredients, I considered using my 2011 Barry Crockett Legacy from Middleton. Its a pricey bottle but is perfectly suited to use for this recipe. Consideration of this brand ended with a quote from Charlton Heston "From my cold dead hand".. I am being buried with that bottle!
I settled on Black Bush, a local and world renowned whiskey that is brewed about an hour from the Liquorjunky bar in Bushmills! Choosing it over Middleton is far from a sign of disrespect, its just made sense.
So, this is where it gets technical.
You combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake vigorously and strain into a glass. Sprinkle some nutmeg on top to finish off. It should be noted I doubled the measures of alcohol, which produced the serving shown in the first image. I kept it to one egg, did think of adding two, but you learn from experience.
The final product was a very boozy ad satisfying eggnog, that can be whipped up in seconds. I would recommend allowing it to thicken for a few hours prior to drinking but overall its a very solid version of this classic.
Whip some up, sip and enjoy. While you can consider the little mentioned tid bit that the classic all American Eggnog, actually originated in England, hundreds of years ago.