If you are lucky, you will know the name Nick Mautone from his 2004 masterpiece Raising the Bar. RTB is a must have for your cocktail library. It is singularly important for its quality and the insights brought to you by a master mixologist. Nick is now the managing director for the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center. No more needs to be said.
I discovered this 2017 book by accidental when browsing over at Amazon. It’s Nick’s second book and the subtitle tells you all: The Best Nogs, Punches, Sparkler, and Mixed Drinks for Every Festive Occasion. It’s a slim volume, only 128 pages, with chapters for:
- Home Bar Basics
- Classic Cocktails and a Twist
- Nogs, Grogs and Other Holiday Warmers
- After Dinner Drinks
I know that we have passed New Year’s Day and once upon a time that would have ended the holiday season. But the Superbowl and all the playoff games have extended our holiday period by over a month. We are barely halfway through festivities devoted to fun and food. And football. And drinks.
For me, the best and biggest chapter here is devoted to those nogs and grogs, filled with these ideas:
Iris’s Coffee Nog
General Washington’s Grog
Banana Buttered Rum
Hot Spiked Cider
Fig Mulled Wine
Apricot Mulled Wine
Chestnut Hot Chocolate
Hot Chocolate Chocolate
Christmas Eve Chocolate
Each recipe here is a flavor bomb. Nick has done his best with the historical elements. That General Washington’s Grog has Madeira, rum, bourbon, brown sugar, cloves, and cinnamon. Nick’s reconstruction here is, he believes, very close to what George himself would have enjoyed. The Hot Chocolate Chocolate combines cocoa powder with chopped dark or milk chocolate. Lots of chocolate with cinnamon and topped with marshmallow fluff.
My favorite recipe is one I will try for the Superbowl: Holiday Eggnog. It is by far, by very far, the richest eggnog recipe I have ever seen. You make a crème anglaise ahead of time. Then, when ready to imbibe, add milk, heavy cream, cinnamon, cloves, rum, bourbon, and brandy. You won’t care who wins the game. You will want a second round.
Holiday Cocktails is a masterful book by a master. You’ll need eggs, milk and cream.