Making a Yuletide Flip 

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Whether you spike or not it's known as ait de poule from the French which literally means hen milk; or egg flip by the British. With low taxed rum easily available from the caribbean it was a way for the British to inexpensively extend their dairy. Here in North America it's eggnog. The popular yuletide beverage received it's popularity with the colonies in the 18th century due to the large amount of dairy available in the new world. As corn and rye became a staple in the colonies, whiskey and bourbon became the common dairy stretcher to the traditional British egg flip. So you could say Americans gave rum the flip so to speak as whiskey and bourbon found it's way into glasses in North America. 

There is good reason why rich and delicious eggnog is limited to being served-up only during the holiday season. Is it possibly the caloric intake, or is it just reason to reserve it to be one of those nostalgic beverages you look forward to toasting with each and every year? May be a bit of both. 

One thing is for sure, if I am toasting with it, it might as well be spiked! Cheers!

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Hirsch's Traditional Eggnog 

Recipe by Chef George Hirsch | Makes 4 Servings

6 egg yolks, save the whites *see below

2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup bourbon, or rum 

1/4 brandy

1/2 cup pure cane sugar, or Turbinado

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated orange rind

Using a mixer with a whip attachment on medium speed; whip the egg yolks until light in color, about 4-5 minutes. Add sugar and mix until completely dissolved. Set aside.

In double boiler, combine the milk, heavy cream, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange rind and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and combine, while tempering the hot milk-cream mixture into the egg-sugar mixture.

Return all ingredients to double boiler and heat constantly stirring with a spatula until the mixture reaches 160 degrees (well below simmer), eggnog begins to resemble custard.

Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, and brandy. Pour into a bowl, cool and refrigerate for at least two-four hours. Best if refrigerated overnight.

Serve in cups with a shaved chocolate, or unsweetened cocoa powder dusted on top.

Optional Toppings: with a dollop of *meringue (made from all the left over egg whites), or ice cream, or whipped cream.

Directions to make Meringue...

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In Hot Chocolate Caramel

The Christmas season is upon us, so a hot chocolate seems like a very appropriate beverage. Homemade hot chocolate is everyone's favorite, even us big kids. This is my spin on hot chocolate and has put smiles on many faces. Enjoy!

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George's Hot Chocolate Caramel

Makes 6 Servings 

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1/3 cup pure cane granulated sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened good cocoa powder

1/3 cup water

8 caramel candies

6 cups milk (whole milk for best results)

mini marshmallows or whip cream

1 ounce brandy (optional)

In a large saucepan combine sugar, cocoa powder, and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add candies and stir until melted. Stir in milk. Heat through. Top with brandy. Pour into mug, top with mini marshmallows or whipped cream.

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Sgroppino

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Here's a Thanksgiving toast for you. Cheers!

All Champagne, by definition, must come from vineyards in the Champagne region of France. This is a small region comprising three districts which include the towns of Reims, Troyes, Charleville-Mezier and Chalons. Prosecco, produced in the Veneto region of Italy is considered an everyday drink or sparkling wine. Unlike most Champagne it does not improve with age and should really be consumed within six months of the time it’s purchased, or within a year of bottling. It tends to be dryer than many Champagnes. A good Prosecco, is inexpensive and very drinkable; right for any occasion even breakfast.

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Sgroppino Italian Cocktail

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Chill 4-6 Champagne flutes 

2 cups chilled Prosecco (Italian sparkling white wine) 

2 Tablespoons chilled vodka 

1 cup frozen lemon sorbet 

2 Tablespoons half & half 

4 fresh strawberries, split for garnish 

4 fresh mint leaves 

Mix Prosecco, vodka, sorbet and half & half in blender for 1 minute. Pour mixture immediately into chilled champagne flutes. Top with berries and mint. 

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Got Shrub?

What is Shrub? The word Shrub comes from the Arabic word sharab, which literally means to drink. In the dictionary, Shrub is defined as an acid fruit drink.

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Good Stuff Pick: Fruit shrubs are based on Colonial era recipes and are drink concentrates made with fresh fruit vinegars, organic unbleached cane sugar and spices. They can be mixed with sparkling water (1 part Shrub to 8 parts water) to make festive non-alcoholic drinks, also to flavor wine and champagne. Just as refreshing to serve for a brunch or a festive backyard BBQ, like my Fresh Squeezed Mimosa.

Today's refreshing beverage is perfect for a steamy hot day, like today. Cheers!

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George's Berry Shrub Fiz

Makes 4 servings

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1/3 cup fresh lime juice + 1 lime sliced thin

1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled

4 cups de-seeded watermelon + 1 cup of melon balls for garnish

2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar, variable depending on how sweet the berries are & how tart/ sweet you like it.

1/2 cup ice, shaved or cubes 

1/4 cup seltzer per glass + sprig of fresh mint

In a blender, blend the lime juice, watermelon, berries with juice, sugar, ice cubes until slushy. Serve in a tall glass filled with ice; pour 3/4 of a glass with fruit juice and top off with seltzer.

*To Spike: You can add 1/2 ounce of vodka, Or rum, Or tequila to each glass over the ice.

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Refreshing Fruit or Vegetable?

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Watermelon happens to be a vegetable! That's right, watermelon was officially declared a vegetable and also named Oklahoma's official state vegetable in 2007. The watermelon is related to the squash and pumpkin family; on the good side of the family.

George Hirsch Lifestyle Melon Kbob

Believe it or not- watermelon has higher concentrations of the antioxidant lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. A two cup serving of watermelon contains almost nineteen mgs versus four mgs contained in tomatoes and has only 48 calories; but can provide 25 percent of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.

Tip. Pick a melon that feels heavy for its size, that's an indication it's juicy and fresh. Enjoy eating it freshly cut or make my refreshing summer cocktail made with watermelon. 

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