Monday, December 3, 2012

'Tis The Season (for Tequila!)

Today marks the beginning of the Holiday Season in my head. I define it as the first Monday of December. I don't even go for that "just after Thanksgiving" crap. I need a week to digest and get rid of the orange and brown decor in favor of green and red. And what else is green and red? The Mexican flag! So bring out the tequila! Here's the egg nog we've made at Elixir for years. I call it...

A la minute recipe:
1.5 oz Añejo tequila (El Tesoro, 7 Leguas, Fortaleza, Milagro or another añejo that retains strong agave flavor)
4oz chilled Fresh Egg Nog*
Wide Orange Twist

In an Old Fashioned glass or other bucket style glass (snifters or wine glasses are nice too because they capture the aroma of the burnt orange oil), combine the tequila and egg nog and stir well. Cut a half dollar-sized twist of orange peel just deep enough to not include any pith. Light a match, and hold the twist over the glass with two fingers, pointing the rind side at the surface of the drink. Place the burning match between the twist and the drink and squeeze the drink, sending the oils through the flame and onto the surface of the glass. (Be careful not to burn yourself, but make sure you see the oils ignite as they spray.) Drop the twist in the glass and serve. (This can also be served on the rocks, but don’t let it dilute too much or you’ll ruin the rich, creamy texture.)

*Fresh Organic Egg Nog (use all organic ingredients)
4 organic egg yolks
1/3 cup organic sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint organic whole milk*                
1 cup organic heavy cream* 
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 organic egg whites*
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream and nutmeg and stir to combine. Set aside in a refrigerator and store until service time, reserving the whites separately. At service time, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a cold metal mixing bowl) and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.
*to make a slightly lighter version, use half in half

Mixologist’s Notes:
This twist on the classic egg nog takes advantage of the traditional flavors of a barrel-aged spirit, but twists it with the spice of an añejo tequila instead of the normal brandy, bourbon or rum. By using a high quality añejo tequila in particular, you’ll usually get nice citrus notes which are highlighted by the toasted orange oils sprayed on the surface.

Service Notes:
The whipping of the egg whites is key to the fluffy texture of a great egg nog. The “a la minute” recipe above is for keeping the nog in a pourable container and serving one by one as ordered. This allows you to have a nog with no spirit in case anyone wants a non-alcoholic version or prefers a different spirit.

For service over time, as in a commercial bar or to preserve in your home over the holidays, add ~16oz of Añejo to your egg nog batch, stir well and store in well-cleaned, well-sealed glass bottles (2x liter bottles should do the trick). The addition of spirit will fortify the batch and give it a shelf life of 2-3 weeks (check with your local scientist for precise shelf stability, I’m just a bartender!) THEN, when you serve a glass, use a hand blender, milk frother or wire whisk to fluff the drink and bring back the texture (at Elixir we use a milk shake machine).

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