- I am late for everything always, and am a bit lackadaisical when it comes to holiday obligations. (I mean, there's something unfit about that phrase, 'holiday obligations', in the first place, don't you think?)
- Hipsters love jam jars. (A friend once said to me, without irony, "I kind of have a jar fetish." Judge me if you want, but I kind of do, too.)
- Everyone loves booze. (Unless you don't. If so, sorry to exclude you.)
- Hey, remember that gift in a jar thing we used to do around here in the early days?
With that, let's talk about Kentucky Egg Nog Spike.
This year, I was actually not at all lackadaisical about holiday gifts (just about sharing them here). In fact, despite not having religious ties to the season, I felt the urge to seriously Christmas it up. I put up the most adorable felt mistletoe, lit a tiny spruce-scented candle, and set off to buy a carton of egg nog. Reading labels at the store, everything from Broguiere's with its hipster-magnet oldy-timey glass bottle, to the organic stuff, had weird ingredients. Artificial flavors in one, unpronounceable mysteries in another. Bummer. This didn't stop me from picking up a carton anyway, but when I got home, I started researching recipes.
What I learned: I will never make egg nog. Doing so would put me eye-to-eye with the frightening mass of egg yolks, heavy cream, sugar, and other incredibly unhealthy things that go into this sugary omelet-disguised-as-beverage, and I just don't have the courage for that.
However, amidst the nog search, I came across a recipe for something called Egg Nog Spike. A combination of spirits infused with delicious warm spices, designed to add a little liquory life your groggy nog. Mix together some brandy, bourbon, and dark rum, then throw in some vanilla beans, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and cracked nutmeg. Jar it up and let it sit for at least a week, up to months. I put this together with a little arts and crafts project (the labels came together from an old brown bag, a black sharpie, and a pencil for drawing circles and lines), and thus came to be my very pretty 2012 holiday gifts.
I know Hanukkah and Christmas are past, but this would be a lovely thing for a New Year's Eve host. And it doesn't have to be relegated to nog: I think it'd be great on the rocks with a little milk or cream white Russian style, or pour some in your coffee for a little bit of spiced Christmas magic to last into the new year. (And for you vegans, I imagine it'd be really yummy with almond or coconut milk, too. I salute you for shunning animal products, but not alcohol.)
You can find the recipe here on Epicurious. I made 4 batches, to fill 8 16-ounce jars. And if you pour a tiny bit extra of each liquor, you'll have some left over at the bottom of the bowl to save for yourself, which I absolutely did do.
I hope you all are having a cozy, warm holiday season, and I wish you guys a spirited and lovely 2013!