By Doc Lawrence
ATLANTA-Few things remind me more of special Christmas celebrations than egg nog. The drink, an essential part of the festivities, has quite a lineage and the fact that it is still popular affirms flavor as much as tradition.
I collected recipes for over a decade from historic figures like General Robert E. Lee and contemporary beverage experts, and found some common denominators. Brandy, rum, whiskey, eggs, milk, spices along with crystal cups and glasses are essentials.
Vajra Stratigos, the highly respected beverage director for Atlanta’s gourmet company, Fifth Group Restaurants presented me with his special egg nog recipe, “Lightning and Thunder,” a name that embodies his creative talents and zest for the good life.
“It’s a sweet spot for me,” Vajra said recently. “Growing up, I think egg nog made for some of my most memorable taste experiences over the holidays.” Like so many celebrants, Vajra offers that he “remain[s] a glutton for the thick rich festive potion.” His recipe is aglow, a versatile and festive Atlanta original that “is really delicious, can be made ahead or a la minute and really fits the classic profile.”
Lightning and Thunder Nog
1t xxx sugar (or confectionary will work also)
1 oz heavy fresh cream
1 fresh egg yolk (pasteurized if you are worried)
2 oz Brandy or Cognac
.75 oz Flor de Cana 7 or 12 year aged rum
.50 oz St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
I small orange peel
Add egg, cream and sugar to the pint glass and shake hard to emulsify. Then add the dram, the rum and the brandy and shake again. Finally add ice to fill half the glass, cap and shake hard till the shaker is cold and frosty. Strain the contents into a stout tumbler or festive footed stem and garnish with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg and some orange zest. shake once more. Pour into a cocktail glass and finish by shaving a bit of fresh nutmeg and cinnamon on top.
GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE’S EGG NOG
12 Eggs, Separated
12 Tbs, Sugar
7 Wineglasses of Brandy (approx. 5 ounces = 1 wineglass)
5 Wineglasses of Rum (or Bourbon)
2 -3 Quarts of Milk
1 Quart of Cream
Beat egg whites till stiff. Beat yolks with sugar till sugar is dissolved (should not feel grainy when run between your fingers).Fold egg mixtures together. Pour in the brandy and rum, and stir. Let stand for 30 minutes to an hour. Add 2 quarts of milk and the cream. Taste – if too strong, then add the 3rd quart of milk, otherwise sprinkle with nutmeg, and let stand overnight on cool porch, or in refrigerator.