Until I tried the delicious recipe I’m going to share with you today, I had actually never tried Eggnog. Usually made with dark spirits like rum or whiskey (blergh!), it honestly never appealed.
Eggnog is traditionally served at Christmas, so when I happened to have some spare Australian Christmas Gin, the idea came to me to make Juniper Eggnog! Christmas Gin, you say?! Let me tell all.
Four Pillars is a distillery in the Yarra Valley, Victoria that specialises in gin, making a small range of high quality and unusual products – including the Rare, Dry Gin that featured in my G&T tart. A couple of years ago, the first Australian Christmas Gin was released and it is now an annual highlight.
According to the story, distiller Cam distils some Christmas puddings with juniper, cinnamon and other herbs. He also ages gin in a couple of 125-year-old scotch whisky barrels that had previously stored Rutherglen Muscat for 80 years. He then blends these together, rounds it out with a little muscat, and produces a wonderful Australian Gin that tastes and smells like Christmas! It is produced in a small batch each year and always sells out, so be quick!
Because Eggnog is a Christmas drink popular in cold places like the US and Canada, I was surprised to find that it is most often served cold – weird. For some reason, it makes me think of cold nights snuggling by a fire, so the week of Winter solstice seemed like the perfect time to make a batch of this delicious creamy drink.
A quick heads up – this recipe really needs to be chilled overnight so you aren’t going to get the instant gratification of many cocktails. I know, I know, I hate waiting too, but the delicious flavours will steep overnight and the wait is worth it. This Juniper Eggnog has a delicious spicy aroma, a smooth custardy texture, and a wonderful richness and warm Flavour. It really is just like drinking Christmas and, apart from the overnight wait, is very easy to make.
1/4 cup Australian Christmas Gin (substitute another barrel aged or spiced gin if you don’t have the Christmas gin – and set a diary reminder now to not miss this year’s release!)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
2 tsp ground cinnamon (plus a cinnamon stick or two if you have them)
2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla essence
3 whole cloves
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp caster sugar
1. Heat the milk, vanilla essence, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan. Remove from heat as soon as bubbles appear – this should only take a few minutes.
2. Meanwhile, stir the egg yolks and sugar in a small bowl until creamy.
3. Once the milk and spices are heated, add the egg mixture slowly, stirring constantly. Gently heat, stirring, until the mixture thickens like custard.
4. Once thickened, remove from heat and strain into a glass bowl/jug. Place in fridge for a couple of hours.
5. Stir the Gin and cream into the custard mixture and refrigerate overnight.
This recipe makes approximately four decent serves of Eggnog. You can easily scale it up or down depending on the quantity you want. It will also keep in the fridge for up to three days after making – just give it a quick stir before pouring.
Enjoy chilled or warm!
Winter here is really not much to speak of, with temperatures of between 20 and 7 degrees Celsius. I’ve enjoyed this delicious spiced eggnog cold, but you could serve it warmed it if that’s more your thing – or if you have a proper winter 😉
With Christmas in July celebrations just around the corner, why not try this delicious twist on a classic beverage? Be warned though, it’s pretty boozy so don’t plan on driving after!
What’s the sophisticated drinker’s favourite Christmas carol? Gin-gle bells, gin-gle bells…