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
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
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.