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Salute your holiday gatherings with eggnog and our other festive cocktail recipes

December 22, 2016

This luscious eggnog gets an extra kick from star anise. Variations include rum, tequila, whiskey, gin and more. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times) For many revelers, the holidays aren’t complete without an appropriate libation, be it Christmas punch, a flute of bubbly or a glass of eggnog. We’ve compiled some of our favorite holiday cocktails in one handy place, whether you’re looking for the proper way to ring in the new year, or something to keep the guests warm on a chilly evening. Whether you love eggnog or have never considered yourself a fan of the concoction, you’ll want to at least check out this recipe (I was never big on the drink, but now fix this every year as a holiday tradition). It’s based on the eggnog recipe in Gray Kunz and Peter Kaminsky's excellent book "The Elements of Taste." At first glance, it's nothing special, with all the usual ingredients: eggs, sugar, seasonings, heavy cream, milk and spirits. But each ingredient is finessed to its fullest potential. Cream is whipped to stiff peaks, then chilled. Egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks; the yolks are whisked with spirits over a hot water bath before also being chilled. Finally, the ingredients are gently folded together to give the resulting drink rich, full-bodied character with a light, almost whimsical feel. Use this method, but feel free to get creative with the spirit bases and flavorings. For rum-coco nog, begin with rum, a traditional base for eggnog, but substitute coconut milk for regular milk, and spice with cinnamon and allspice. Substituting rye whiskey for the Cognac and using brown sugar for the sweetener yield a decidedly adult eggnog with butterscotch overtones. Have fun with a a tequila-based eggnog with an orange liqueur — you'll get a fresh, citrus-cream eggnog that reminds you of why you love orange gelato. And don't be afraid to make the colorful pink nog-tini with gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur and grenadine. It's definitely different but perfectly suited for the holidays with the faint aroma...

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