Maple Bourbon Fizz

We’re back to sub-freezing temperatures in New York City, and with the mercury set to stay that way for the next week, a bourbon cocktail seemed appropriate. Last year, the Maple Bourbon Sour became my winter cocktail of choice. For many, maple syrup may be more of a fall flavor, but I’ve always associated it with the winter months when the trees are tapped to collect the sap and sugar houses produce the syrup.

This time around, I decided to go with a fizz version using not just soda, but egg white as well. The egg white helps give the cocktail more body and a creamy texture, which melds well with the profile of the bourbon.

The recipe below is the result of some tinkering on my part and reflects my personal taste. As you’ll see, there’s flexibility. For a cocktail on ice, I tend to lean heavier on the bourbon so that it doesn’t become too diluted. I’ve also found that the maple syrup flavor can get lost in the mix sometimes, so I suggest using at least one full ounce or a little more depending on your liking. And please, don’t skimp on quality with the maple syrup – use the real stuff from New England or Canada. Lemon juice is usually the standard citrus for a bourbon-based sour cocktail, but lime juice can work just as well.

On using the egg white, be sure to combine and shake all ingredients before mixing with the ice and topping off with soda. This allows the egg white to fully emulsify into the frothy goodness that distinguishes this cocktail. And with an eye toward food safety, be sure the egg is fresh, at a cool refrigerator temperature, the shell is clean and, of course, your hands are clean before separating.

Here’s the recipe. Happy drinking.

MAPLE BOURBON FIZZ

Time: 3-5 minutes
Equipment: Cocktail shaker; egg separator (optional, there are lots of ways to separate an egg)
Glassware: highball or larger-sized lowball glass

2 1/2 ounces bourbon (Makers Mark or Knob Creek are good options)
1 ounce lemon or lime juice (your preference)
1 full ounce maple syrup (or a little more if you like it on the sweet side)
1 egg white
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 ounce soda water

First, fill your glassware of choice three quarters full of ice to chill the glass (the ice will also be used in a couple of steps).

In a cocktail shaker, add the bourbon, lemon or lime juice, maple syrup, egg white and bitters. Seal and shake vigorously for 30-60 seconds. Add the ice to the shaker, seal again and give it another 10 shakes or so. Pour into the glass and top off with soda water.

Bourbon-Spiked Blondies

Boubon-Spiked Blondies

Growing up, blondies reigned supreme in my house. At least as far as brownies were concerned. When baking for kids though, most parents don’t spike their homemade baked goods with booze.

Well, I’m not a parent and I’m not cooking for kids, which means I can pretty much do whatever I want when it comes to baking. So why not kick things up a bit with Maker’s Mark?

Bourbon is a great combo with blondies and the flavors really compliment each other well, especially with nuts and chocolate chips. The right amount of bourbon allows for the flavors of caramel, vanilla, honey and a little toastiness to come through quite nicely, but not so much that you feel the burn of the alcohol.

It all makes for an excellent “adult” treat.

Blondies

 

Bourbon-Spiked Blondies
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking

 

2 cups flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
1/4 tspn baking soda
1/4 tspn salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup bourbon (I prefer Maker’s Mark)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 TBSP vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch square or 8 x 11 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and bring to boil, stirring constantly, until it becomes a light golden brown color, about 4 mintues. Remove from the heat and stir in the brown sugar, sugar and bourbon until well blended. Let cool until barely warm and stir in the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla until fully incorporated.

Stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture until fully blended. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Scrape the mixture into the baking pan and even out with a spatula. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown. The blondies should be done when a toothpick can be inserted in the middle and removed cleanly.

Cool the blondies in the pan on a rack. Slice into small squares and serve.

Homemade Eggnog

Homemade Eggnog

I made that eggnog for our holiday party. It was quite tasty and it didn’t last very long. At first, our guests were a bit hesitant. But before I knew it, people were coming up to me with three empty cups in hand and asking for more ‘nog.

I’ve been wanting to make eggnog since last December, when I read about a project by the guys at The Bitten Word to make eggnog and age it for a year. Yeah, that’s right, one whole year. You can read about their results and watch a funny video of them testing the finished product here. The recipe they used was based on this write-up from Chow.com.

Now, I wasn’t quite as motivated as they were – I just made the eggnog on the day of our party and used a different recipe from Alton Brown. While many recipes call for using both raw egg yolks and whites, I opted to cook the yolks (but I still used raw egg whites). The eggnog had a nice custard-like texture and the whipped egg whites made for a much lighter ‘nog than the type you buy in the store. Adding a whole lot of Maker’s Mark bourbon helped too.

 

Homemade Eggnog
Recipe from Alton Brown
Makes about 12 cups

 

8 egg yolks
2/3 cups sugar, plus 2 tbsp
1 quart whole milk
1 pint heavy cream
1 1/4 cups bourbon (I like to use Maker’s Mark)
1 tspn nutmeg
8 egg whites*

 

Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Slowly add the 2/3 cup sugar and beat until it is completely dissolved

In a large sauce pan, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring to just a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and slowly temper the egg yolk mixture – stir the warm mixture, in 1/4 cup incriments, into the egg yolk mixture until it is fully heated, then combine with the rest of the warm milk mixture. Cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon and pour into a large mixing bowl. Depending on how strong you like your drinks, you can add a little more or use a little less bourbon. Chill in the refrigerator for two hours.

Using the mixer, beat the egg whites to soft peaks in mixing bowl. Slowly add the 2 TBSP sugar while the mixer is still running and beat until stiff peaks form. Stir the egg whites into the chilled mixture and pour into a larger serving container.

Serve the eggnog with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

*Note: this recipe contains raw eggs.