THE (NON) EGGNOG I'M MAKING FOR THE HOLIDAYS
In a few days, I'm having a (very) small group of friends over for a holiday get together. This year, after Thanksgiving fatigue, I'm taking it easy and going to enjoy my friend time. I'm doing some fun holiday drinks; there's going to be serious spades playing, and we are all going to eat my favorite delivery pizza (which in Brooklyn is nothing short of amazing)! Christmas eve will be my blowout cooking event with my family, so I'll get my cooking fix then.
One of my favorite things to do for holiday parties is serve little, sweet, liqueured up shots for dessert! And this year, I'm making this (non) eggnog for the occasion. I love how the Caribbean does eggnog and have put up the recipe for West Indian Ponche de Crème in the past - a sweet, creamy spiced eggnog with a touch of bitters. For this recipe, the inspiration is coquito, the Puerto Rican version which I like to think of as coconut eggnog!
I made some key changes to a traditional coquito here. Instead of canned evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk, which are traditional, I infused heavy cream with sugar and the signature spices of the drink - cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise and cloves - making my own sweetened and spiced condensed cream! Because I use heavy cream, I omit the eggs which is great because it's creamy enough. Also, I have some friends that aren't so into the "egg-y" flavor and are a bit skeeved out about the whole raw eggs thing, so it works all around.
This drink is so rich and delicious - it's creamy and scented with coconut. I love that it has the traditional cinnamon and nutmeg, but the star anise, if you have it, is such an unusual touch. Enjoy!
Yields a little over 8 cups
4 cups heavy cream
3/4 - 1 cup coconut or white sugar
5 cinnamon sticks
6 star anise pods (optional)
6 whole cloves
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
zest of 1 lime
3 ½ cups fresh coconut milk or 2 cans coconut milk
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup light rum
½-1 cup gold rum
Optional: Amaretto or Coffee Liqueur
Garnish: Ground or whole cinnamon, more star anise pods
In a medium saucepan, add the heavy cream, sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, nutmeg, salt and lime zest. I give a range on the sugar because I like mine a bit less sweet (3/4 cup), but a traditional one would be more sweet (1 cup) - do to your tastes and remember you can always taste and add more! Bring up to a boil and then remove from the heat.
To a blender, add the coconut milk, vanilla extract and rums (again, to your booziness level). Blend until it's uniform. In a pitcher, pot of whatever you are going to store this in, stir together the blended coconut mixture with the spiced heavy cream. Chill completely before serving. I prefer letting it sit in the fridge a day or two before serving so all the flavors come through, but it's pretty amazing after a few hours too.
If you want to put a twist on this, substitute 1/2 cup amaretto or coffee liqueur in lieu of the same amount of the gold rum. Just drop down the sugar to 1/2-3/4 cup to balance out the sweetness.
Strain out the whole spices and serve over ice with some ground cinnamon, a cinnamon stick or some star anise pods.