Well, we made it to December. That feels like an accomplishment this year, though I don’t hold any hope that on January 1 we will be released from the curse of 2020. I fear it will be more of the same, kicking off with three weeks of wtf, but hopefully I am wrong and the sun will rise on 2021 with a new glimmer for all of us. The good news about making it this far is it is definitely the holiday season now. I always hold that after you clear the turkey from the table you are ready to cue the Christmas music and put up the tree, or set out the menorah or place the Festivus pole or prepare for the Yule or Kwanzaa or whatever your preferred holiday celebration calls for even if that is nothing at all. The point is there is no question that by the top of the 12th month you are free and clear to spread your brand of cheer. So, in that spirit, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make General Harrison’s Nog.
That’s right, I am kicking off the month with a bit of the old nog. The drink is an old one, a favorite of President William Henry Harrison, allegedly. This particular recipe is an adaptation of Jerry Thomas’ version from his 1862 “How to Mix Drinks”, with a little, obvious, twist from master bartender, Dale De Groff. I am a fan of egg nog, the big complicated kind, so I was excited to find this single serving riff on the classic. When I was a child I was Team Boiled Custard, all the way, but when I became a man, I put aside childish things and began grating my own nutmeg, as one does. Let’s make the drink and see how things go.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of apple brandy, I went with Laird’s Applejack, naturally; 1/2 an ounce of Demerara syrup, 2 stabs of Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters and 1 whole fresh egg, sans shell. Add ice and shake to the beat of “I Saw Three Ships” a song that Harrison may very well have listened to while sipping his nog watching the waters of the Ohio River rolling by in the moonlight. Plus, Liam always dances around like a madman when it plays, so that’s fun. When your offspring is danced out, strain into something period and top with dry hard cider, I went with Strongbow Artisan blend. Garnish with a little fresh grated nutmeg and call it done.
That works. It’s not like your typical egg nog, but I like it. You get a great creamy mouthfeel from that egg, but the effervescent sparkle from the cider gives it a real interest, kinda like poprocks turned all the way down. Not too sweet, just smooth and tasty.
So that’s a fun drink in honor of the fella who would go on to become our oldest elected president at the ripe old age of 68 on Inauguration Day. A record he would hold till Reagan inched by at 69 only to be overtaken by Trump at 70, who was blown away by Biden who will take office with a high score of 78. I am noticing a trend toward old dudes as presidents that maybe we should reconsider. I respect my elders and all, but maybe we should look at other options. Harrison still holds the record for the most grandchildren of any president with 25, so he’s got that going for him. He was also the first president to have his photograph taken, which occurred as he rode in the inaugural parade in 1841. If you know anything about him besides that “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too!” slogan, it is that he had the shortest presidency, ever. He died one month after taking office of pneumonia and septic shock, a sickness attributed to his long-winded inaugural address that took over two hours to deliver in the cold and rain. It was said that he wanted to overcome the view that he was an uneducated backwoodsman, as he had been portrayed during the election by speaking eloquently. I guess he showed them. I will take the hint and cut my remarks short, brevity being the soul of wit and all. Ya’ll stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.