I absolutely adore christmas time. The days off, my kids, the food, the tree and most of all, the smells. I've been grinding gingerbread infused coffee instead the usual french roast, the tree is filling our home with the most nostalgic, woodsy aroma, and everything smells of peanut butter balls.
What could be better?
We never travel. Visiting family has happened once in 16 years (we like them it's just that they're all in Canada!) so establishing our own holiday traditions has been a priority. My favorite one is having my girlfriends and their growing families over for our annual Family Holiday Party.
I don't know exactly how long we've been doing it, but I know I was pregnant for one of them...so at least nine years. We have a gift exchange (more fun now that the kids are older and don't cry if mom steals their gifts) and eat a huge dinner.
The best part? I make Bourbon Spiked Egg Nog and let me tell you, if you've never made your own nog, you're missing out. The difference is HUGE. Like fresh peas compared to canned.
I've found a recipe from Paula Dean that's just fabulous and super easy. The only thing you need is 3 bowls and room in your freezer...read on...
Mama's Egg Nog
6 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 pint heavy cream
4 pints milk
1/2 pint Bourbon
1 tablespoon of vanilla
In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of the sugar until thick. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with 1/4 cup of the sugar until thick. In a third bowl, beat the cream until thick (soft peaks). Add the cream to the yolks, fold in the egg whites and add the milk, Bourbon, vanilla and a pinch of nutmeg. Chill in freezer before serving.
Of course, the above recipe is not nearly enough, so I double it. I usually make it the morning of the party and put in the freezer until is very firm. Then I set it out to "thaw" about 30 minutes before everyone arrives. I keep a shaker of nutmeg (or a grater and nut) beside the punchbowl so guests can add extra if they like.
One more tip: throw away those tiny matching punchbowl cups and set out some good sized glasswear. This drink is so impressively good, a small cup is an insult.
Let me know if you make this and tell me what you think.
Hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with good food, great friends and lots of bourbon...