For me, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without making a large batch of celebrated Hornsby Family Egg Nog (made from scratch, served with love, fresh nutmeg, and ideally tons of fried chicken and warm biscuits with Smithfield Ham). This year the batch was perhaps the best it’s ever been- which is in no small part due to by the glorious gift of Araucana Blue eggs straight from Jay and Katie Rose’s chickens. Araucanas are a South American breed that lay thick-skinned eggs with yolks the color of setting suns. The shells of their eggs come in a range of beautiful delicate colors: pale aquamarine and celadon, eau de nil, sky, and light dappled ochre. See above. The fact that these chickens have beards, are named after lady blues singers, and are presided over by the Grand Plumed Rooster Alicia Jr. just makes the funfetti toned eggs all the more party ready. Which is a good thing since the nog calls for 30 of them (we triple the recipe for our holiday party, soooo, yeah). Talking about the eggs brings up the antipathy that many people have for egg nog- maybe you’ve only ever had store bought (oof), maybe you went to a party where some poor fool made it with gin (travesty), maybe raw eggs give you the willies (no help or hope for you, my friend), but this version, with its hand-written recipe and various and copious brown liquors is surprisingly, almost unbelievably light and fresh, sweet and smooth, spicy, silky, and secretly very strong. Here’s the recipe, straight out of the Hornsby family cookbook, “From the Kitchen at the Hornsby House”, written out by my Great Aunt Marian.Our family is one of barrel chested watermen-turned-oilmen-turned-land men, consummate entertainers, gentlemen raconteurs, merry pranksters, bon vivants, music makers and songstresses, and long time intimates of the marvelous stiff southern drink… when it would be Christmas at the Big House, laughter would shake the chandeliers, and instruments would be played until the wee hours. I always hope to have done them proud.
– I use Benedictine and Brandy (B&B) instead of Brandy and Southern Comfort
– Tripled, the bourbon comes out to a handle, Jim Beam is more than satisfactory (though Maker’s Mark is sweeter).
– You’re left with the whites of the eggs, make a frittata!