It’s the time of year when coffee chains roll out their winter drinks—and let’s be honest, we all feel a little cozier for it. A steadfast winter tradition, cheery red-and-green cups full of peppermint and gingerbread concoctions have long since come to look and taste like the holidays.
Richest of them all? The eggnog latte. Yet one crucial component shines in traditional eggnog, and coffee shops just can’t (legally) give it to us. That dash of brandy, rum or whiskey that your grandpa used to sneak in at family gatherings adds a spark of warmth that’s missing from any festive paper coffee cup. If your café can’t put traditional eggnog into your coffee, bring coffee into your own eggnog. Here’s how to make a real eggnog latte at home.
Best Boozy Eggnog Latte
8 farm-fresh eggs, yolks separated from whites
¾ cup white sugar (substitute up to ¼ C with brown sugar for a darker eggnog)
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup local bourbon, like Bull Run’s Temperance Trader
2 tablespoon local rum; for dark go with Rogue’s Dark Rum, for lighter rum drinkers, make it Sun Liquor’s Sun Rum Barrel Aged
2 tablespoons local brandy, like Clear Creek Distillery’s Oregon Pot-Distilled Brandy
1 cup strong, freshly-brewed coffee*
Freshly ground nutmeg to taste
*For the coffee: I use a French Press with double the normal coffee grounds (for me that’s four heaping tablespoons, rather than two, of coarsely ground coffee in one cup of hot water) to produce a highly concentrated brew. Try an earthily floral East African coffee, like Kitenge from fledgling Vashon roastery Pollard Coffee, or a darker, chocolatey Sumatra, like the organic Aceh Gayo from BC’s Salt Spring Coffee.
Beat egg yolks until they begin to lighten in color; add sugar and beat until thick. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until peaks begin to form. Don’t skimp here: the tiny air bubbles captured in the whites will give your homemade nog the microfoamy texture familiar in coffee shops lattes.
Combine the cream and milk in a saucepan over medium heat; stir until small bubbles begin to form. Remove saucepan from heat; add hot coffee and stir. Add this mixture to the egg yolks slowly, stirring well. Stir in bourbon, rum, brandy and a generous sprinkling of ground nutmeg. When incorporated, add egg whites and whisk together.
Ladle into mugs while still warm, garnishing each mug with more nutmeg. Enjoy your homemade eggnog latte around the fire, with friends and family.