While flipping through the pages of Maggie Hoffman’s book The One-Bottle Cocktail, we were immediately drawn to this simple spin on frothy holiday classics. Hoffman urges fans of eggnog to try this concoction—created by Brandon Presbury of San Francisco’s Lazy Bear—and we second that sentiment. The drink utilizes a handful of pantry staples, including the oft overlooked buttermilk, resulting in an approachable display of balanced decadence. This is an excellent choice for the holidays if egg nog feels old hat, or any moment that requests a respectable alternative to the overstuffed lot of questionable yet popular dessert drinks out there.
It’s no surprise that this cocktail is sweet and creamy, but the beauty of this festive spin lies in the use of buttermilk. Compared to cream, which is the more common option, buttermilk provides a lighter body and pleasing tang that balances maple’s sweetness. Immediately present on the nose is the heavenly aroma of buttered rum or rich toffee, with a hint of hazelnut and coffee undertones. The sip is full of rich sweetness from the maple syrup and bourbon, which also lends a complementary nuttiness. Cold brew provides bitterness and depth of flavor, reminiscent of a more sophisticated white russian. As can sometimes be the case with flips, this one doesn’t taste or smell strongly of egg; it can easily be served without drinkers knowing it has the ingredient present. Hazelnut lingers around at the end, perhaps because its texture sticks in your mouth. Pretty little flakes of grated hazelnut bring a lot of visual appeal, complementing the drink’s light neutral tone and appearing like snowflakes gracing the top of an icy peak.
This drink could easily support a little heavier pour of bourbon, so feel free to adjust to your level of holiday cheer. With that in mind, stick to your good old reliable mixing bourbon—you don’t want to drown your good stuff in buttermilk. A bourbon with a profile of maple and vanilla is complementary. There are plenty of delicious canned cold brew coffees available these days, so simply reach for your favorite. As with any egg drink: first dry shake to emulsify, then follow with a second shake on ice. If you find yourself without hazelnuts, don’t let that stop you. Grate hazelnut if ya got em, if not make it anyway.