Egg Nog wasn't a big part of my family Christmas tradition. Mom was more fond of Boiled Custard, Dad enjoyed the odd cup at a company Christmas party, and for some reason Egg Nog always tasted funny to me. When I purchased my first bottle of Bourbon in my early 20s, I tried spiking a bit of store-bought nog and was disappointed with the results.
But times and tastes change, and eventually I grew to love the nutmeg-scented holiday beverage even in its virgin, mass-produced, pasteurized form. Maybe a small dash of rum for fun, but part of me always felt like I was missing out on the real thing.
This winter, destiny came calling.
I received a pair of acrylic moose mugs, inspired by the glasses used in the holiday classic National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. These mugs hold 260mL of liquid, or a bit over one cup. They're packaged in individual boxes, so in theory you could repack them each year with the Christmas ornaments and other decorations. Frankly I'm going to be looking for excuses to use them year-round, such as any time I have Canadian beer in the house.
I've got lots of different glasses for various wines, beers, and cocktails, but now I've got the world's finest Egg Nog mugs. This demands a classic, made-from-scratch recipe. How about...
David Wondrich's Virginia Eggnog
from Esquire, adjusted to a third of the original quantity
4 TB Sugar
⅔ cup Cognac
⅓ cup Dark Rum
⅔ cup Milk
⅓ cup Cream
Follow the link for detailed preparation instructions, though it's more like making dessert than a regular cocktail. Absolutely nothing about this recipe is healthy, and if you're queasy about raw eggs, keep in mind that most aficionados recommend keeping the jar of nog sitting unrefrigerated in the pantry for weeks, or even years for the flavor to really develop. The substantial amount of alcohol (about ¼ cup per serving) works as a strong preservative.
I used Brandy and Bourbon in place of Cognac and Dark Rum, respectively. It's definitely the best Egg Nog I've ever had. It's got a lighter texture and more intense flavor than the store-bought variety, which some have compared to melted ice cream. If your guests aren't afraid of raw eggs, I'd highly recommend this recipe.
The mug performed admirably, and it's difficult not to grin like an idiot while drinking from it. Since the antlers are on both sides, it works for right- or left-handed people, though there's a natural inclination to grab both like a toddler.
P.S. The authentic glass moose mugs identical to those in the film can be purchased online from the original artist, but bear in mind they're $90 per glass with a two glass minimum order. The acrylic ones mentioned above and shown in the photo are $25 per mug.
Screenshot ©1989 Warner Bros. Pictures