Feel festive with these locally made eggnogs, and if you're aiming to please the masses around your own holiday table, find the recipe for Pasture's Coconog (pictured), below. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
For many, eggnog is the holiday-season calorie bomb of choice — a rich, creamy, coat-your-tongue combination of custard and alcohol. Through the centuries, the added booze spanned from beer to sherry and, here in the States, we've taken a special shine to bourbon in our nog. Today's eggnogs get just as creative, and Richmond's batches are no exception. They're festive, available all over the city and delivered to your seat in some seriously fun ways. (Speaking of which, free idea: the Nog Flume, which is basically an ice luge for shots of eggnog. Someone get the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on the phone.) Here are a few spots around town making their eggnog in house, plus a recipe from Pasture's Beth Dixon so you can whip up your own at home.
- Acacia mid-town: Acacia co-owner Aline Reitzer grew up drinking her mother's homemade advocaat, a thick Dutch eggnog that heavily — sometimes solely — uses egg yolks. For this year's winter menu, she requested Bar Manager Danny McDermott create a drink akin to that concoction, and, thankfully, he was up to the challenge. It's one of two eggnog variations you'll find on Acacia's menu now through at least February, and it's a blend of Anchor Genevieve gin, vanilla, Copper & Kings brandy, whole egg, and nutmeg. The other is inspired by horchata and features Corralejo Añejo tequila, Cardamaro, orgeat, whole egg and nutmeg. The former is buttermilk-based, while the latter leans on house-made quinoa milk "rather than using straight cream, because that gets a little boring," McDermott says. Find each made to order and priced at $11. 2601 W. Cary St., 562-0138.
- Bell Cafe: Find family-friendly nog in Mechanicsville with this 16-ounce pour made with demerara and brown sugars, vanilla beans, and Ceylon cinnamon, "the white pepper of black pepper," says co-owner Tiffany Ingram. "It's just a really mild cinnamon, which I think really elevates it." This eggnog comes nonalcoholic for $5, but for $4 more, you can add a shot of Mount Gay Rum or bourbon, and every glass is laced with house-made caramel sauce. Order yours now through mid-January. 8319 Bell Creek Road, 746-4647.
- Graffiato: Downtown, Graffiato's bar team is shaking up eggnog not by batch but by the glass, made to order. "We'll be flipping through a couple variants throughout the holiday season," says Bar Manager Ryan Pantos. The current iteration includes spiced rum, Hardywood Gingerbread Stout, walnut syrup, cinnamon syrup, Angostura bitters and house-made spiced bitters. A future variant, beginning as soon as next week, will most likely involve scotch, rum and a house-made bourbon crème anglaise. $10, now through the end of the year. 123 W. Broad St., 918-9454.
- Heritage: For fans of "Star Wars" and all things festive comes the Death Star Nog from Bar Manager Tim Quinn. Available now through the holidays, find this made-to-order mixture of Belmont Farm's Dark Chai Spice Rum, black-walnut bitters, cream, egg and cane syrup for $11.1627 W. Main St., 353-4060.
- Hutch Bar & Eatery / Toast: Between Toast and Hutch, guests are glugging eight to 10 quarts of eggnog a day. With three varieties always available, there's really no reason not to. "There is the basic, nonalcoholic version, served in a highball with freshly grated nutmeg, and there is the eggnog add-on, where our guests have the option to pick their own base spirit to be mixed with eggnog," says Beverage Director Scott Harris, who's been making eggnog each holiday season for the last four or five years. "The best and most fun option that we offer is our Cocktail of the Day, in which every day we craft a different combination of spirits and eggnog. I’m partial to heavy pot-stilled rum and Italian amaro." Find it through December, and possibly longer. $5 for nonalcoholic, $8 with an alcohol add-on, $10 for the eggnog Cocktail of the Day. Hutch Bar & Eatery, 1308 Gaskins Road, 308-0115; Toast, 7007 Three Chopt Road, 525-4525.
- L'Opossum: Leave it to L'Opossum to name its eggnog most devilishly: Starting tonight you can order The Eggnostic Heathen, a spiced and fairly involved new drink from server Erin Jameson. She creates a classic eggnog base from egg and dairy, but here's where things go seasonally sideways: Jameson's made a pumpkin cordial by steeping roasted, puréed pumpkin with sugar, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla beans in gin. This spikes the eggnog, along with El Dorado five-year rum and Old Forester bourbon. It doesn't end there. The drink is first foamed into the base of your glass, then poured in liquid form, and topped with one final foam layer. $9, through December. 626 China St., 918-6028.
- Latitude Seafood Co.: You won't find vodka, gin or vermouth in this Eggnog Martini, but you will find Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Baileys Irish Cream and house-made nog when it lands on the specials menu next week. Latitude co-owner Jonathan Knizatko served this chilled, shaken, featured cocktail during last year's holiday season and expects to make it through the new year this time around. Expect it to come garnished by something festive such as a cinnamon stick or ground nutmeg. $7.90. 15532 WC Commons Way, 379-8100.
- Pasture: Don't be surprised to find this seasonal item missing from Pasture's menu; Bar Manager Beth Dixon's seasonal concoction is so popular, she only offers it upon request for fear of running out. For those in the know, this Coconog is inspired by coquito — the Puerto Rican take on eggnog — and it's a delightful spin on the classic egg/milk/cream/spice combo, adding the tropical taste of coconut milk. This year, Dixon's adding a splash of Belle Isle Craft Spirits' new Cold Brew Coffee moonshine. "I wanted to try something a little different with it," she shares. Want to make it at home? Keep on scrollin' for the recipe. Want Dixon to make it for you? Stop by Pasture now through the holidays. $8. 416 E. Grace St., 780-0416.
- The Rogue Gentlemen: The beverage team at this Jackson Ward spot serves up eggnog made to order, by specific request or through its "dealer's choice" option. Find rum and brandy shaken with cream, allspice dram and egg, be it egg white or whole egg, served chilled and garnished with nutmeg. $13. 618 N. First St., 477-3456.
- The Roosevelt: Bar Manager Thomas "T" Leggett and Bartender Brandon Peck are already on their second batch of this sherry- and tequila-tinged eggnog, using the recipe of Jeffrey Morgenthaler, beverage writer and the bar manager of Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon. The pair slowly incorporates Añejo Tequila, Amontillado sherry, milk and cream into a blend of whole eggs, sugar and freshly grated nutmeg, and for those looking to have some fun at brunch, this Clyde Common Egg Nog is served nightly and on Sunday mornings. Find this spin for $9, now and most likely through Christmas. 623 N. 25th St., 658-1935.
- Shagbark: You'll taste more than straightforward Southern classics at this Virginia-inspired restaurant. From the bar, Beverage Director and Assistant General Manager Derek Salerno and his team give eggnog an upgrade with blackstrap rum, cognac, Bowman Brothers' Virginia bourbon and a maple-nutmeg meringue. $11, through the end of the year. 4901 Libbie Mill E. Blvd., 358-7424.
By Beth Dixon
Yields roughly 6 quarts, or 30 servings
16 eggs, separated
2 cups sugar, divided
4 cans coconut milk
3 cups half and half
1 can condensed milk
4 cups alcohol (Dixon's choice: 2 cups dark rum, 1 cup bourbon, 1 cup Belle Isle Cold Brew Coffee moonshine)
½ teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon Angostura bitters
Whip the egg whites in a stand mixer on low until frothy, then up to medium-high speed until they are thick and resemble shaving cream. Add 1 cup of the sugar and mix on high, about 30 seconds. Set aside. In separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and the other cup of sugar. Beat on medium-high until pale yellow and ribbony, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, the condensed milk, the half and half, spices, vanilla, bitters, and alcohol on a low speed to combine. Gently fold this into the egg-white mixture and serve. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
This post has been updated to include The Roosevelt's eggnog.