Quick: How many mugs of Eggnog did you drink last summer? The answer, unless you’re some sort of lactose-loving holiday fetishist, should be zero. But chances are you’ll find your way to a cup this month, and it will more than likely be the same predictable creamy concoction you’ve had a million times.
Which is fine! As long as you know there’s another way. Bartenders all over have been experimenting with the holiday staple, creating Eggnog recipes distinguished as much for their spice—and spiciness—as for their rich creaminess. These are three twists on a classic Eggnog that will have you sipping all the way into summer.
This Eggnog variation from Tulsa’s Nate Wood, who splits his bartending duties between Amelia’s on Boston and Oren, is a spice lover’s dream come true. Rye, allspice dram, chile liqueur and cinnamon simple syrup come together to make a bold backbone for the winter cocktail. But it’s the pineapple rum that gives the drink its legs, says Wood. It brings a “contrasting sweetness and brighter tone” to the drink. If you want to spice this flavor profile up even more, Woods suggests infusing the rum and rye with some clove and/or cinnamon sticks prior to mixing.
Portland, Ore., bar legend Jeffrey Morgenthaler takes his seasonal Eggnog seriously. “Even the crappy stuff from the grocery store I love,” he says. There’s nothing crappy about his rich twist on the drink, made with fresh eggs, whole milk, heavy cream and a mix of brandy and Sailor Jerry spiced rum. The idea behind his recipe, he says, is to elevate the drink "from something mundane to something more culinary."
San Francisco cocktail pioneer H. Joseph Ehrmann’s seasonal sipper blends añejo tequila with amontillado sherry and lets the mixture age in-house for three months before using it in his Añogo. "You'll usually get nice citrus notes, which are highlighted by the toasted orange oils sprayed on the surface,” he says. “And the sherry notes add a buttery and nutty quality.” The recipe calls for 1 1/2 ounces of tequila, but Ehrmann recommends punching that up to increase the baked agave flavors, not to mention the booziness, of the drink.