Liquid diet: Rum ’n’ ’nog spices up the season

What cocktail better tickles your tastebuds with fingers of holiday delight than rum and eggnog?

As a youth, I never much cared for the ’nog. Too rich for my liking — almost gag inducing. It required a resolute mind and steely stomach to finish even a rocks glass worth of the saccharine swill without reeling. But then I had my first rum ’nog. Never again would the ’nog abuse my palate.

My first rum ’nog came late in my high-school years. It was Christmas morning. My family sat around the Christmas tree, bulging stockings laid across our laps, and my stepdad came into the living room with a glass of ‘nog in each hand. I shuddered at the sight, my salivary glands secreting in protest. He handed me one. The contents looked slightly darker than I recalled from the last glass I’d forced down 365 days earlier. Nor did the contents look as thick. Steve said, “Rum.” My mother tsked, and I took a sip, realizing in that moment that everything had changed.

As the years flowed by — and the passing of my 19th birthday helped make my mother’s tsks a thing of the past — those rum ’nogs only got stronger. My stepdad isn’t much for this particular beverage, but he is a man of principle. And eggnog cut with Captain Morgan’s dark rum is the customary Christmas-morning cocktail. When it comes to holiday fare in our house, tradition trumps all, and there’s no getting away from certain comestibles (rum ’nog where Steve is concerned, and Brussels sprouts or smoked oysters for me).

Now every December, as cartons of eggnog line the dairy shelves of the local grocer, my salivary glands still squirt, though no longer with consternation. This year, I did not wait for Christmas morning, and my girlfriend and I had barely flipped the calendar away from November before we had rum ’nogs in our hands. But something peculiar happened. Without thinking about it, I purchased a bottle of Bacardi white rum. We filled our glasses, sprinkled the bobbing ice cubes with nutmeg and went on our way. It wasn’t until last week, after discussing holiday plans with my friend and frequent rum ’nog consumer, Justin Bedi, that I realized what I had done.

“It’s got to be dark, like Lamb’s Navy or something,” said Bedi. “What were you doing with white rum?”

I could only look at the floor in shame.

Bedi’s breakdown was simple. “A shot will usually do, maybe two depending on how much ice you use. Pour in the eggnog — you want more eggnog than rum, about two [parts eggnog] to one [part rum] — then a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg at the end.” He said the spices “class it up,” but that the drink can be enjoyed without them, too.

Some people avoid rum and eggnog because they worry about the drink curdling in their bellies, but Bedi said this concern is mostly unfounded. “You only notice it if you have [a rum ’nog] and then pound a beer back after. It’s a horrible experience. It does not feel good.”

Aside from that, rum ’nog feels good indeed.

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