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Put a Little Fire into Your Egg Nog


Michael Sohocki’s Wood-Fired Egg Nog

National Egg Nog Day is Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, and what better way to celebrate than with a cup of holiday cheer as created by San Antonio chef Michael Sohocki of Restaurant Gwendolyn, Kimura and Il Forno.

Sohocki decided that wood fire didn’t just belong in the fireplace, tucked behind hanging stockings; instead he is pushing boundaries by adding it to everyone’s favorite holiday sip. He strove for a warm egg nog with a smoky and wood essence to it — and burning oak gave him just that.

With a dollop of brandy at the bottom of each mug, drinkers will experience a potent potable that has a very merry ending indeed. (Editor’s note: We have not tried the recipe ourselves, but we are willing to test it if anyone wants to make it for us.)

Wood-Fired Egg Nog

1 quart whole milk
½ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean (paste only)
6 egg yolks
2 cups burning wood (oak, hickory or maple)
Splash of your favorite brandy
Soft-whipped cream, for garnish
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Bring milk, sugar and vanilla to a raging boil. Before it spills over the sides, pull it from the flame.

Put egg yolks in a separate 4-quart bowl. Stir the boiling liquid into the yolks a little at a time, starting with about a tablespoon at a time until you see steam, then you can increase the interval to about 1/4 cup or so.


When the boiling liquid is incorporated, take about 2 cups of burning wood, preferably in small pieces (greater surface area) still on fire, and dump them all at once into the milk and egg mixture. Stir to extinguish the flames, and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes or so to absorb smoke and wood essence. Strain through fine mesh to remove wood pieces. (Note: Sohocki recommends only using clean, food-grade wood.)

 
 

Put a dollop of brandy in the bottom of a tall warm coffee cup, and pour the egg nog mixture from up high, so you get a swirling effect in the bottom of the glass (practice this in private: don’t pour it in your guest’s ear). Sohocki likes that the mixture is not the same throughout, a little more punch at the bottom.


Top with whipped cream and nutmeg, and serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.
 
From Michael Sohocki/Restaurant Gwendolyn, Kimura, Il Forno

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George Washington Knew a Good Eggnog When He Tasted It


eggnog1I cannot tell a lie: George Washington’s eggnog recipe is a winner.

I found this recipe in a colorful tome called “Christmas in Colonial and Early America” published by the World Book Encyclopedia back in 1975.

I don’t really know if it’s really Washington’s recipe, but the authors declare it to be: “This potent holiday drink was a favorite of the general’s. It is made in Virginia to this day, in exactly the same proportions.”

Why quibble, when the first direction is the poetically phrased: “Combine liquor.”

There’s no mention of nutmeg, which was a rarity in the colonies and early days of America. Shave some fresh nutmeg on top of each serving to taste, if you like.

You need to make this festive punch in advance in order to let the flavors blend.

George Washington’s Eggnog

1 pint brandy
1/2 pint rye whiskey
4 ounces sherry
4 ounces rum
12 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 quart milk
1 quart heavy cream

Combine liquor. Beat egg yolks in a large bowl until thick, then beat in sugar. Gradually add liquor, then milk and cream while continuing to beat. Beat egg whites to stiff, not dry, peaks; fold into liquid mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 days before serving.

Makes 3 three quarts.

From “Christmas in Colonial and Early America”

For a local take on eggnog, check out this version from Christopher Ware, who now has Paramour.

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