Perhaps the most annoying response to “I don’t like that” is “You’d like mine,” but that’s exactly what Jeffrey Morgenthaler said to me when I told him I hated eggnog. Even more annoying? He was correct. Jeff’s nog is the only good nog, and it is made with tequila.
To fully appreciate the praise I am bestowing on Jeff, you need to understand how much I hate all other eggnog. The mouth-coating viscosity and overwhelming sweetness has always made me gag—booze or no booze. To me, it always had the mouthfeel of cheap melted ice cream, just on the edge of congealing. I don’t even like eggnog-flavored things. One time—as a teen—I ordered an eggnog latte in an attempt to be seasonal. I took a sip and burst into tears. (I was having a really bad day already, but wasting five bucks on a seasonal latte when I knew I hated eggnog really sent me over the edge.)
But this nog is like that. This nog is light, perfectly sweetened, and somehow slightly refreshing, something I thought impossible for a dairy- and egg-based beverage. Instead of starting with a thick, cooked custard, it’s made entirely in a blender (or stand mixer) and requires no cooking of any kind. It can also be made well in advance. As Jeff explained in an email to me, “a day ahead is ideal, it’s better the next day. It’ll last pretty much forever but despite what you read on the internet, eggnog aged a year or two ahead isn’t necessarily better. There’s a sweet spot in there and the longer it goes... it’s kind of like diminishing returns. A week ahead of time is my favourite.”
Why tequila? According to this helpful instructional video, tequila is basically “agave brandy” and the combination of brandy and sherry is commonly found in all sorts of nog recipes. But, according to Jeff, the tequila nog was originally meant to have been part of a whole series of nogs: “When I moved to Portland from the college town of Eugene, I’d already been doing my brandy and spiced rum eggnog for years. But I was hesitant because Portland was so “cool” and I felt like people would want something edgier.
My original plan was to do a weekly eggnog with all of these different flavour combinations. I had a Manhattan eggnog with rye and Spanish vermouth all sketched out, a Cynar eggnog, etc. The first one I did was the tequila/sherry one and it was so overwhelmingly popular I never proceeded with any of the others.”
Besides the ingredients listed below, all you’ll need to make the nog is a blender or stand mixer. If you own a high power blender, make sure it is set on its absolute lowest setting, as those appliances tend to heat things up, which can result in scrambled eggs if you’re not careful.
Añejo Tequila and Amontillado Sherry Egg Nog (makes approximately one gallon, or 32 servings)
12 large eggs
450 grams superfine or baker’s sugar (NOT powdered!)
350mL anejo tequila
445mL Amontillado sherry
1L whole milk
700mL heavy cream
Fresh nutmeg, for garnish
Add the eggs to your open mixer or stand mixer, beat on low until smooth. Slowly add sugar until incorporated and dissolved. Slowly add sherry, tequila, milk and cream, making sure to add cream last so it does not whip. Refrigerate overnight and serve in small chilled cups. (Punch cups are perfect and adorable.) Grate fresh nutmeg on top just before serving.