Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Dreaming of a White, Frothy Cup of Guilty Goodness? Eggnog Is Everywhere

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Dreaming of a White, Frothy Cup of Guilty Goodness? Eggnog Is Everywhere

Article excerpt

Deck the halls with traditional eggnog

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EDMONTON - When top Edmonton chef Brad Smoliak summons up smells and tastes of the holiday season, he recalls the sugary Christmas cookies and juicy mandarin oranges he ate as a child.

But there's only one beverage that makes his wish list as a grownup: eggnog.

"It just says Christmas," says Smoliak. "To me, it's like pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving."

The thick egg and milk concoction is a perennial favourite across North America and Europe. It originated in Britain centuries ago and was popular with aristocrats who could afford scarce supplies of milk and eggs. Typically they added brandy, sherry or dry wine to the drink.

Settlers carried the tradition over to the New World but started spiking their eggnog with cheaper rum from the Caribbean.

Statistics Canada reports that Canadians consume about eight million litres of the store-bought stuff each year, even though it only hits shelves in November and is gone by January.

Smoliak, a certified research chef who opened his own catering storefront earlier this year, says he finds commercial nog a bit too thick, too sweet and too yellow for his liking.

So he usually makes his own from scratch. These days, his recipe has a Canadian twist with maple syrup and rye whisky. And don't forget the fresh nutmeg.

"Boy, that's good," Smoliak says after sipping a recent batch, a hint of nog moustache on his upper lip.

"Once you make this, you'll never buy eggnog again."

Eggnog is everywhere during the holidays. Most coffee shops offer holiday eggnog lattes. McDonald's even has an eggnog shake this year.

There's eggnog custard and ice cream. Some people add eggnog to recipes for cakes and cookies. Die-hard fans can even buy eggnog-scented candles and bubble bath.

"I think everybody's trying to tap into that for the holiday season," says Smoliak. "I'm surprised it's not on a pizza yet."

He remembers when he was in junior high school, his friend's father loved eggnog so much he used it to make scrambled eggs. …

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