It's always at this time of year when I'm asked to recall "Howard's Egg Nog." Back in the day my adored husband, Howard Joynt, would whip up big batches of very potent home made egg nog. In the few days running up to Christmas he offered it free of charge at his saloon, Nathans. For a few select friends he would bottle it, a tradition I continued after his death.
But now Nathans is closed and I don't have the means to pull the required many bottles of premium rum, bourbon and cognac off the shelf to make the famed home brew. Hell, like so many this year, I'm house rich and cash poor and can barely afford the eggs. Nonetheless, I love the tradition.
So, while I may not be able to offer free glasses of potent egg nog at Wisconsin and M, I am able to offer up the recipe. Worth noting: Howard composed this recipe after we attended a White House Christmas party in 1985, where we enjoyed especially the White House egg nog, and he asked one of the veteran waiters for the ingredients. It is based on that recipe plus his professional embellistments.
HOWARD'S EGG NOG
5 Egg Yolks
5 Egg Whites
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup bourbon
3/4 cup cognac
3/4 cup dark rum
1 quart milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pint heavy cream
-Combine yolks and sugar in and bowl and beat to ribbon stage
-Add bourbon, rum, cognac to yolk mix
-Let those ingredients rest, and while they rest
-Whip egg whites to stiff peak
-Whip the cream to medium thickness
-Fold whites and cream together, and then add yolks and alchohol, and stir for at least 1 minute
-Add spices (nutmeg and vanilla)
Chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Serve in a punch bowl with a big chunk of premium vanilla ice cream in the punch bowl
Stir regularly when serving
Simply transcribing the recipe brings back so many memories. For example, the usual: in the kitchen at our home on the Chesapeake Bay, which was a large and terrfic "cook's kitchen," with half stone walls and a big fireplace and views of the water in three directions. Since I didn't yet own a restaurant back then (that was his business) I was seriously into cooking, (later squelched when I idid own a restaurant). I made all our meals in that kitchen, kept it tidy and pristine in an anal way. The Annual Night of the Egg Nog, however, was just the opposite. Howard was the mad scientist, whisks and blenders whirring, eggs and their shells flying. When he was done it was such a mess. However, the result, the egg nog, was glorious. He was so damned proud of that egg nog, and deservedly so.
Funny that I didn't begin drinking egg nog until after his death. But drinking his egg nog each Christmas became a loving token of remembrance - for me, for friends, and for the staff. I don't miss anything about the corner of Wisconsin and M (well, my husband) but I do miss the ritual of the egg nog. Maybe, if you were a Nathans fan, you will recreate it at home. I promise reward.