'Nog to the World: 8 ‘Eggnogs’ to Try Around the World
December 19, 2012
Cola de Mono (Chile)
Named for former Chilean president Pedro "Monkey" Montt, Chile’s spirited holiday beverage combines coffee, milk, and pisco. Called cola de mono (translation: "monkey’s tail"), the festive drink is served chilled to combat warm December temperatures. Those heading to the Southern Hemisphere should hit Valparaíso’s new Palacio Astoreca, a national landmark-turned-boutique hotel with a restaurant by an elBulli alum. Chef Sergio Barroso serves a killer cola de mono made with local tonka beans, star anise, and an elegant, semi-frozen coffee "cloud."
Advocaat (The Netherlands)
Holland’s holiday spirit is so strong that some versions have to be eaten with a spoon. Dutch advocaat combines brandy or cognac with sugar, fresh vanilla, and a sinfully large quantity of egg yolks. Bottled varieties by Bols or De Kuyper are widely distributed and available internationally, but the best advocaat is made fresh, topped with whipped cream and cocoa, and enjoyed immediately. For a taste of Dutch decadence, try the cardamom-scented advocaat amongst the Rembrandts at Restaurant d’Vijff Vlieghen in Amsterdam.
Chilled Camel’s Milk (United Arab Emirates)
Although their version is nonalcoholic, Emiratis can teach the world a thing or two about nog. Throughout the UAE, chilled camel’s milk is blended with pitted dates in a surprisingly healthy take on the hearty beverage. In keeping with Arab hospitality, the date drink is often offered as a welcome beverage to houseguests throughout the year. At Abu Dhabi’s luxe desert resort Qasr Al Sarab, it’s lightly sweetened with local honey and presented to guests upon arrival.
Occasionally called "sake-nog" by Westerners, tamagozake is actually an uncommonly delicious Japanese home remedy for colds. A raw egg and pinch of sugar are continually whisked into warm sake until uniformly dissolved into a thick, creamy texture. Tamagozake can be served year-round but rarely appears on Japanese restaurant or bar menus, given its strong medicinal association.
Auld Man’s Milk (Scotland)
While Christmas is celebrated throughout Scotland, the bigger holiday is New Year’s Eve’s epic Hogmanay. Late-night revelry includes everything from baking shortcake to drinking with neighbors, so the Jan.1 "morning cup" is suitably substantial. Named Auld Man’s Milk after native son Robert Burns’ seasonal anthem "Auld Lang Syne," the dram combines whisky and sweetened cream with whipped, separated eggs. Chef Michael Smith of the Highlands’ Three Chimneys serves his family-style, with a half-pint of whisky and a thin slice of lemon peel. Slainte!
Jamaican Eggnog (Jamaica)
The island’s top seasonal drink is a sweet fruit juice made from sorrel, ginger, and wine. But, given the depth and range of Jamaica’s incredible rums, traditional rum nog is not forgotten. An island-centric cross between American eggnog and a White Russian cocktail, Jamaica’s version combines local spirits like white rum and Tia Maria liqueur with cream, egg yolks, and locally grown cinnamon. At Kingston’s sleek Spanish Court Hotel, chef Anthony Matthews uses Jamaican J. Wray and Nephew White Rum, plus a dash of Angostura bitters, to give his nog a kick that will last until the New Year.
In the 1970s, the après-ski set on the chic slopes of northwestern Italy created the bombardino, a bold pairing of Dutch advocaat liqueur (or its marsala-infused Italian cousins, VOV or Zabov) with brandy or whiskey. Served warm and topped with whipped cream, it’s a hearty, heady way to beat the winter chill. At Valle d’Aosta’s sweeping Hermitage Hotel & Spa, Alpine skiers sip bombardini at the base of the Matterhorn. Those looking to put an extra spring in their step can add a shot of espresso by ordering a calimero, named for a hapless, hyper Italian cartoon character. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Eggnog (United States)
Like blueberries and the NFL, eggnog is an utterly American affair. Its origins can potentially be traced to medieval English grog, but the modern egg-and-cream version is spiced and spiked to perfection across the U.S. The Victorian Ocean House resort in Rhode Island hosts an annual eggnog competition (this year’s is Dec. 19 and 20), and at the Montage Laguna Beach, sommelier Troy Smith and chef Casey Overton serve the Nog Grog cocktail with Southern Comfort and Godiva white chocolate liqueur. It’s a sweet, celebratory taste of American ingenuity.