Since we’re knee deep in the holiday season I thought it would be cool to take a break from breweries and talk about varieties in eggnog recipes. And when I say “recipes” I don’t mean how many eggs you break and how many ounces of cream you whisk in a bowl. I’m talking about what kind of liquor you mix into that shit. I absolutely love eggnog and have fond memories of sharing glass after glass of it with my family during Christmas dinner while my Aunt Savannah told the same old story of how she once got her ass pinched by Erik Estrada in a dance club in the 80s and my mom berated my sister for not yet carrying a single pregnancy to term.
Eggnog and my family go together like jail time and my family. As far as we were concerned there was nothing else that could be mixed with eggnog other than Bourbon. It’s been an ongoing tradition and I still remember the first time I had a sip of it from my sippy cup like it was yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, Bourbon is whiskey that’s made in the U.S. from at least 51% corn. But apparently there are other schools of thought out there which my family never realized because none of us have ever been good at school. I recently learned that other people mix Brandy with their eggnog, which sounds blasphemous but I’ve never been a man to knock the idea of mixing any kind of liquor into anything.
Brandy is made by distilling wine and comes designated with three main categories to indicate how long it’s been aged.
V.S. stands for “Very Special,” and is the youngest of the age categories. I purchased a bottle of V.S. Brandy and realized that the only thing special about it is how the smell burned my nostrils so hard that it was especially reminiscent of sniffing a bathroom cleaning product.
V.S.O.P. stands for “Very Superior Old Pale” (the intermediate age category) and X.O. stands for “Extra Old.” I figured I would purchase a bottle of the XO as well just to give Brandy a fair shake.
Unfortunately Bourbon is such an ingrained tradition in my family that when I walked into my parents’ home for our annual Christmas party with two bottles of Brandy I got stared down harder than last year when I walked into my office’s ugly sweater party wearing a sweater that had a swastika knit onto it. In my defense…you can’t come up with an uglier sweater than that.
Seeing me with Brandy actually made my mother cry and made my grandmother start yelling about how she just knew all those pocket squares would eventually turn me into “a gay.” My grandma isn’t very open-minded when it comes to anything other than my Cousin Spider’s alibis. I started getting the sense that Cousin Spider was her favorite grandson back when she missed my birthday party to attend his parole hearing last year and the year before that and the year before that and the year before that and the year before that.
I was eventually able to get everyone to listen to me after I dried all the holy water off of my face and told them that I only bought Brandy in honor of my Cousin Bambi. Just a week earlier she was given an award for being the stripper with the second-longest consecutive days not spent in jail by Club Wyld Stylezzzzz where she works. Also her stripper name is Brandy so that worked out.
That seemed to get everybody on board and they agreed to participate in a Brandy vs. Bourbon taste test. We poured the drinks into plastic cups because my family is legally prohibited from drinking booze out of anything made of glass. The glassware always ended up finding itself slammed on top of heads at our gatherings.
Mixing the eggnog with the VS Brandy made it so bitter and gross that it tasted like lighter fluid, which is my dad’s drink of choice behind cocaine so he absolutely loved it. No one else was impressed, though, and I found myself worrying about the family turning on me again so I quickly pulled out the XO Brandy. I told everyone that anything labeled XO is aged for at least six years. They were notably impressed because no one here ever drank a liquor older than they were when they first tried it.
The smoothness of the XO actually complemented the eggnog rather well and a couple of my family members even came around to the idea of it. I realized that Brandy isn’t a bad choice as long as you’re not drinking the absolute lowest quality of it. Not everyone was sold, though, so we ended the night with our traditional Bourbon and with a screening of our favorite Christmas movie of all time: Die Hard.
Despite admitting that Brandy is not a bad choice to mix with eggnog I’ll always be partial to Bourbon. Every sip tastes like home and every empty bottle is a potential weapon for when the G-Men kick down your door to try and kidnap the Guatemalan kids working in the knockoff iPhone factory you’ve been running in your basement, according to my grandma. Ha. Classic grandma.
Have a great holiday and, as always, salud!