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Winter is the best time of year for eating and drinking, a time when we subsist on carbs thanks to bulky sweaters and elastic waistbands, hearty spices like cinnamon and clove float atop frothy beverages, and bushels of apples transform into sizzling cider. There’s a warmth to sipping winter drinks, savoring their rich flavors loaded with nostalgia, and no holiday gathering is complete without the creamy coziness of a freshly-whipped batch of eggnog (we are emphatically against the store-bought milk carton varieties).
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But other than classic recipes with brandy and bourbon, this seasonal staple hasn’t seen much innovation since it matriculated from London pubs in the Dickens era. Now, we don’t know if eggnog actually originates from the U.K., or the mid-1800s, but we do delight in fantasizing about Charles Dickens sitting by the fire with a pewter mug of a velvety emulsion as he pens scenes from Great Expectations. And that was the inspiration for our “Frothy Monk” beer cocktail recipe. It’s a cocktail that coats the bones and warms the heart with a dash of whimsy, reminiscent of the time of year when anything seems possible.
We wanted this creative concoction to be frothy like eggnog, so we knew the recipe would feature a whole egg. And we also knew we wanted to use a Belgian beer base to impart the wintry wonders of brown sugar and molasses, so we landed on the Westmalle Tripel, a Trappist ale brewed in traditional fashion at an abbey in Westmalle, Belgium. (Hence, the monk reference. Yeah, we’re clever like that.)
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Then, we built the flavors from there, adding in cardamom and cinnamon-infused rum, a little simple syrup, a dash of Angostura bitters and some fresh, ground cinnamon to comprise a luscious beer cocktail that will make you believe in the kind of magic you see on the Hallmark Channel (most likely because of the whopping alcohol content, but hey, you never know where inspiration’s going to strike, and if it’s good enough for Dickens…).
The Frothy Monk Beer Cocktail Recipe
- 2 ounces Westmalle Tripel Ale
- 1 1/2 ounces cardamom & cinnamon-infused rum (below)
- 3/4 ounces cream sherry
- 1 teaspoon simple syrup
- 1 large egg
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Fresh, ground cinnamon (for garnish)
Shake all ingredients without ice for 30 seconds (also referred to as a “dry shake”). Add ice and shake again for another 30 seconds or so until the egg is completely whipped (this could take up to 2 minutes depending on your biceps, or lack thereof). Strain into a goblet or brandy snifter and garnish with a few drops of bitters and a pinch of ground cinnamon.
Cardamom & Cinnamon-Infused Rum
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 medium cinnamon stick
- 8 ounces Banks “7 Golden Age Rum” (or your rum of choice)
- 1 teaspoon lightly salted butter
In a small saucepan, lightly sauté cardamom pods and cinnamon stick with the butter until the pods begin to brown (and the waft of spices starts to permeate the kitchen). Add the rum and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool, then strain the spiced rum into a jar, cover and refrigerate for up to three weeks. For maximum results, we suggest preparing the infused rum at least a day or two before the cocktail so that all of the flavors have time to steep.