Eggnog is so hot right now.
The age-old beverage—consumed since at least the 17th century, and perhaps much longer—combines some format of cream, sugar, whipped egg whites, yolks, and spices, and is consumed in various formats all around the world, from the Mexican rompope to the Peruvian biblia to the German eierlikor to Japan's peerless tamagozake. Recipes are as varied as the cultures that drink them, but there are some constants: sugar and egg are both required, and the addition of booze is preferred.
Here in Seattle's ghoulish 2020 holiday season, a strange and hopefully never to be repeated time, circumstances have lined up to result in eggnog's trending moment. "I highly underestimated the nog demand," says Zac Overman of L'Oursin; his is a familiar tale across the city, where proprietors are having difficulty keeping nog on the shelves this holiday season. I see several explanatory factors.
First, we're stuck at home, having all sensibly canceled our Christmas plans in the face of the pandemic. Second, we're drinking more—some of us a lot more, including me. Third, crisis and shutdown have yielded a silver lining in the form of a roaring bottle cocktail scene across the region's bars and cafes, who should be serving a bar full of happy holiday punters but are instead sending folks off at the doorway with a parcel of prizes for the home bar. Last, yes, shit is weird out there and yes, the holidays this year more or less suck. But they can be made much better by a to-go order of boozy eggnog, and it's a delightful way to help support the cities' bars, who are hurting and can expect no form of help or support from our failed state government.
Pour me another nog and we can get into politics, but first head out on your own—masked, hand-sprayed, tipping generously—to one of these fine establishments and pick us up reinforcements.
Nog style: fancy traditional
Nog availability: difficult
L'Oursin, the Capitol Hill wine bar / cocktail parlour / restaurant / pandemic market / fried chicken shack multi-hyphenate, have rolled out a robust Quatre Epices Armagnac Eggnog for the Christmas season. It is a multi-day process to make it, and a recent attempt to pick up a bottle at the bar proved unfruitful. Pre-order is available online via LOursin's website for pick-up on December 23rd and 24th.
Nog style: bartenderly riff
Nog availability: plentiful
This 15th Avenue bar, home to one of the city's best rare bottle selections, has rolled out a moreish nog riff that includes Amontillado sherry, Glenfarclas Scotch whisky, and butterscotch. Each serving comes in a charming little mason jar emblazoned with the bar's signature logo. They are frighteningly easy to drink.
Damn The Weather
Nog style: achingly classic
Nog availability: copious
Pioneer Square stalwarts Damn The Weather have turned their bar inside out each weekend in December, installing umbrellas and a propane fire pit and offering warming foods and drinks al fresco, come rain or shine (mostly rain). It makes for a convivial and, dare I say it, Christmas-y vibe, in which one can rock up and order various beverages from mulled cider to a bottle of Champagne and drink right there on the street. Damn The Weather's nog is classic, boozy, served ice cold, and really very good. I drank two.
Hood Famous Bakeshop
Nog style: Filipino Ube purple
Nog availability: impossible
I made multiple attempts to acquire this nog and came up dry each time. Here's what I know about it: ube, the purple yam used in a range of Filipino dishes, is a main ingredient in the mix and gives the nog its purple hue. It comes as a base, to which half and half or the non-dairy milk of your choice can be added; and it has been sold out for a week. If you need a Hood Famous fix in place of nog, consider picking up a carton of their truly astonishingly good purple ube cookie dough, which is now available at Uwajimaya.
Nog style: high-end bar program
Nog availability: yours to enjoy
Downtown Tacoma's En Rama is offering perhaps the region's most complex, ambitious nog, as though the drink itself were dressed up in a pique polo and plunked down with a bartop reservation. Chai spiced whiskey, East India sherry, brown butter-infused Jamaican rum, brandy, heavy cream, eggs, sugar, and nutmeg are sold ready to drink in three different size formats, alongside spiced whipped cream for topping. It is luscious, it is delicious, but in the glass it's not too think-y or up its own nog-ass. The ingredients harmonize beautifully and aren't there for bartender wanking's sake. It works, and, alongside En Rama's all-world bottled cocktail menu, is worth the drive from wherever you're reading this.