This month's Mixology Monday theme is "Spice." Craig at Tiki Drinks & Indigo Firmaments is hosting, and says "Spice should give you plenty of room to play - from the winter warmers of egg nog, wassail and mulled products to the strange and interesting infusions of pepper, ceubub, grains of paradise, nutmeg — what have you!" And, as Craig notes in his first examples above, December is an excellent time for drinks flavored by spice.
'Tis the season for eggnog and mulled wine or cider, after all, so that was where I gravitated first. But why limit ourselves to eggnog or cider, when we can have both? As chronicled by ur-bartender Jerry Thomas in his 1862 magnum opus How To Mix Drinks, or The Bon-Vivant's Companion, just such a combination was favored by William Henry Harrison:
(See, Arnold Palmer wasn't the first person to have odd mixtures of beverages named after him.)
"General Harrison" was of course President Harrison as well; and it's only fitting that he be remembered by a drink: during his 1840 campaign, a Democratic newspaper editor said that Harrison would rather sit in his log cabin drinking hard cider than run the country. Harrison's campaign ran with this image -- contrasting it with opponent Martin Van Buren's supposed effete tastes for Champagne and Madeira -- and immediately produced all manner of log-cabin- and hard-cider-themed merchandise. (Incidentally, what was called the somewhat inebriated campaign of 1840 was the first to use modern image-making tactics; besides the log cabin and hard cider images, the Whigs also produced the first campaign slogan ("Tippecanoe and Tyler Too") and many campaign songs.)
So, General Harrison's Egg Nogg combined cider and eggs in a most novel way. But since this MxMo is all about spicy flavors, I decided to up the ante a little bit with some aromatic bitters (for a cinnamon-clove note) and allspice dram. I also added some brandy and rum -- traditional additions to eggnog -- and some grated nutmeg, both for its traditional garnish for eggnog and its historical place atop cocktails of all kinds. And, finally, the festive holiday season seemed to demand a sparkling drink. Here's what I came up with:
- 1/2 oz. rum
- 1/2 oz. brandy
- 1/2 oz. allspice dram
- 1 large egg
- 2 dashes bitters
- sparkling cider
Note: I made this with Pyrat XO rum, Fee's Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters, and Martinelli's sparkling cider. Because I was using a liqueur and since the cider is so very sweet, I skipped the sugar called for in Jerry Thomas's original recipe for General Harrison's Egg Nogg. I'd like to try this with a drier cider (like Samuel Smith's Organic Cider) or a spicier rum, too. I also used a cobbler shaker rather than my usual Boston shaker, just so I could make sure I got the egg well-mixed.