UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL
It's still cold as hell (or would that be heaven, since it's the opposite of hell?) here in NY, and spring's still a distant dream. So I figured while I can't speed up time, I can at least travel back to when the winter was bearable, and when the possibility of receiving free things was an easy distraction from the weather--not to mention that the weather wasn't yet this dreary. So I figured why not make some eggnog, as perhaps no other winter libation better represents the principle that fatigue from the cold (and excessive holiday merriment) can be allayed with fearless intemperance.

Anyone weary of eggnog is unlikely to have tried the real deal homemade stuff, and most likely has been a victim of the store bought variety that resembles--both in taste and appearance--watered down nutmeg-flavored glue. This is perhaps the greatest reason why the drink's reputation is nearly in the same company as that of the holiday fruitcake. But when done right, as it was back in its heyday a century ago, the classic eggnog is a throwback to a time when men could drink a sweet cocktail without catching sideways glances from their brethren, because the drinks were bracing enough to put one's manhood on notice.

When it comes to eggnog, there are countless different recipes and variations, as revealed by a quick trip to www.cocktaildb.com. The version I'm making here doesn't stray too far from the original, and has a few tweaks here and there as a matter of personal style, but by all means this is a drink that welcomes your own adjustments to suit the tastes of you and your guests. And of course it goes without saying that this is better enjoyed in the company of friends.

So here's what you'll need, which should make enough for about 5 people, which you can scale accordingly:

4 eggs
3-4 tbsp superfine sugar (caster sugar)
2/3 cup bourbon (I used Maker's Mark here, but I find Wild Turkey 101 Proof also works well if you want something with even more kick)
1/3 cup anejo rum (I used El Dorado 15 Yr Old, as it seems to be begging to be paired with nutmeg; and I prefer aged rum because they marry with the other flavors much better than a white rum)
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup cream
fresh nutmeg for grating

Separate the eggs and set the whites in the fridge. While vigorously beating the yolks, whisk in the sugar and beat it until it dissolves. Slowly add the bourbon, then the rum, milk, and cream. Add a pinch of nutmeg and set in the fridge for at least a couple of hours to chill and allow the ingredients to marry. Once the mixture is chilled, retrieve the egg whites from the fridge and beat until they form stiff peaks. I recommend using a hand blender or mixer, otherwise this step could take you a while if you have weak wrists. Fold the whites into the chilled mixture and serve with a little more freshly grated nutmeg over each glass.

So who needs a DeLorean right? This time travel thing wasn't so bad. Maybe I'll try traveling back to last summer...perhaps for some pina coladas!

Come back every Wednesday for Paystyle's weekly Happy Hour column.

Photography by Vanessa Bahmani