Every Christmas I like to push the boat out and try some different sips – Not always with success. If I divert from the trusted wine and gin – over sugary, over spiced, and dare I say over festive drinks are often what ends up in my glass. There are a lot of drops that I don’t want to return to, and I end up opening a ‘safe’ bottle of wine instead.
However, I was surprised when young Henry Eldon popped over and put something rather special in my hand… Always a treat to be surprised by the man, he also handed me a bottle of his homemade eggnog.
‘Eggnog?’, I thought to myself… Hmmm… Isn’t this what they sip out of reindeer shaped glasses in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”? Yes! It is! It’s not something I remember with much affection ,but trusting Chef Henry’s expert palate and culinary skills (he is, after all chef / owner of the incredible fire-powered restaurant The Cauldron in Bristol’s St Werburghs along with his incredible wife Lauren), I took the bottle over to some friends for a festive after-dinner sip earlier on in December.
So, eggnog (also known as milk punch) is a rich, dairy-based drink traditionally made with milk, cream, sugar, eggs and fortified booze! On paper, it’s a simple combo but wow, is it easy to get wrong!
But, phew! Henry got his recipe just right. After a quick shake, his creamy and luxurious bottle was a goner in moments. I grated the whole nutmeg that was tied to the top of the bottle over the top of each filled glass, which complemented the perfect balance of clove, cinnamon, dairy, sweetness and vanilla specks.
If you’re going to partake in this warming drink, I suggest you don’t have a heavy dessert, but boy, it’s worth it! See Henry’s perfect recipe below:
2 cinnamon sticks
12 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod
1 litre double cream
- Bring the milk, cloves and cinnamon sticks to the brink of simmering, then turn off.
- In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar and the vanilla pod of seeds until it is light and fluffy. (Obvs make a meringue or a healthy omelette with the whites!)
- Add them together stirring constantly, bring the mix up to 82°, then chill – both you and the drink! (If you heat too quickly or don’t stir enough it will scramble)
- Once chilled, add the double cream, bourbon and a good grating of nutmeg.
- To serve, find your favourite retro coup glasses, shake the bottle to wake the drink, pour, then grate the rest of the nutmeg over the top. Now you’re ready to sip and enjoy!
- If you don’t finish it all, the drink will last for a week in the fridge.
Henry is chef / owner of The Cauldron restaurant in St Werburghs, Bristol. Check out thecauldron.restaurantfor more info and to check out Henry’s blog.
Also, see Henry’s Twitter / Instagram @chefhenryeldon