Don’t fear the eggnog

I used to be afraid of eggnog when I was younger. I don’t like either eggs or milk, and as I’m sure you’re all aware, both feature quite prominently. You can get soy eggnog these days, but I doubt that it’s the same thing. And I have weird food issues. Bananas, for instance. My hatred of bananas is, I am certain, more psychological than anything else, and many people (including Donald, who also doesn’t like bananas) have told me that plantains taste nothing like bananas. People who do like bananas say that plantains are gross, and that they taste nothing like bananas. And yet, I can’t bring myself to try one, because they look like bananas.

Eggnog was always the same. I liked chocolate milk, because the chocolate overwhelms the milk flavor. But eggnog? How could it not taste like egg? It says “egg” right in the name!

As I’ve gotten more and more into old-school cocktails, though, I have–cautiously, at first–extended my experiments to cocktails including raw egg. Initially I only tried the ones that used egg white but no yolk (such as the pisco sour, or Ramos gin fizz). Gradually, I worked up my courage enough to try the flip and the coffee cocktail, with their generous portions of whole egg. And you know what? You really can’t taste the egg. Honestly. They’re good cocktails. The egg adds richness and body, but it’s not gross and slimy. Or “eggy”. Not at all. And so, only in the past year or so, I’ve been able to ignore that word “egg” in the name of that favorite seasonal libation, and bring myself to drink eggnog.

Everything is better with alcohol, right?

Last night my roommates and I decided to have a pajama party. It’s sort of a running joke with us. One of my roommates was at a party where she overheard some women talking about an imaginary reality TV show they’d like to see, spoofing “Rock of Love”. From what I understand (I’ve never watched it), “Rock of Love” is about these women who go around bar-hopping trying to pick up random guys? Anyway, the joke was that there should be a show called “Cock Block of Love”, about women who are in their pajamas and ready for bed by 10 pm each night, and my roommate, who was eavesdropping, thought to herself, “Hey! That sounds like our apartment!”

Then, one of us found a retro card with the cover of a 1960s pulp fiction novel called “Pajama Party”, showing three women in various states of pajama-cladness, drinking cocktails and the tag line “Five campus cuties on a no-holds-barred spree!” (I guess they couldn’t fit enough skin on the cover if they put all five of the cuties in the picture? I don’t know.) Of course, the three of us tend to spend most of our time at home reading, writing, playing classical music, or studying; but we do sometimes enjoy a round of cocktails together in our pajamas. So we couldn’t resist putting the card up on our fridge. And we started talking about how we should have a real pajama party. Where we would stay up and eat junk food and watch chick flicks and paint our toenails. And drink cocktails, of course. Since it was mid-December by the time we got around to it, we decided that the most appropriate cocktail was eggnog.

I used the eggnog recipe in Dale DeGroff’s excellent book The Essential Cocktail: 3 eggs, 2 cups whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 oz bourbon, 2 oz rum, freshly grated nutmeg. This was actually only half the recipe, which was supposed to serve 6. I suppose the amount I made does serve 3, if everyone wants seconds. And thirds. And maybe fourths. (If you divide the total amount of alcohol by 3, it is actually less alcohol per person than a typical serving size of alcohol; way more calories and cholesterol, though!)

How festive!

The pumpkin pie was made by my roommate Aubrey. We were supposed to eat it (or at least some of it) at the pajama party, but we felt too full after drinking all that eggnog! Ditto on the popcorn we’d been planning to make. So we’ll have to try the pumpkin pie today! Looks good, though, doesn’t it?

Clearly Dale DeGroff has been consulting with Rachael Ray on portion size

This is what was left in the bowl (of the theoretical 3 servings) after ladling out an initial cup for everyone.

It was very tasty, almost like a cold latte, with a liquid layer and a thick foam on top (I beat the egg whites separately and folded them in at the end). You couldn’t taste the eggs or milk at all!

We exchanged gifts, only I, um, hadn’t gotten around to buying any yet. (There’s still time!) Cory got me Ted Haigh’s book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, which is very awesome. I’d never even heard of many of these cocktails, and some of the ingredients are almost impossible to find, which is my favorite sort of recipe! And Aubrey got me a beautiful mortar and pestle. I don’t know what I’m going to get for them, now–the bar is set pretty high!

As far as our pajama party went, we watched the movie “Love, Actually”, which I’d never seen (though they had). It was good, though Donald and I had just seen the new Harry Potter movie the day before, and they have some of the same actors, which is always weird.

We didn’t have enough energy for any of our other grand ambitions for the pajama party, like home pedicures or crank-calling Donald upstairs. When the movie was over, we concluded that the best part of a pajama party is getting to go straight to bed afterwards without even having to change.

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