Inspiration: E. Ricket and C. Thomas, The Gentleman's Table Guide, 1871. The generally accepted recipe for a Baltimore Eggnog starts with Madeira, cognac, and Jamaican rum-but E. Ricket and C. Thomas were not on this planet to go along with every popular notion. They decommissioned cognac in favor of Irish whiskey and traded Madeira for its brighter cousin sherry. In that formulation, the malt nuances of the whiskey integrate with the raisin tone from the Pedro Ximenez sherry, the vanilla syrup, and the molasses notes from the rum. It makes for an extra-special nog indeed.
Add all the ingredients, except the garnish, to a shaker and shake. Add ice and shake again vigorously. Strain into a wine glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Yield:About 16 ounces
Use a paring knife to cut down the center of the vanilla bean pod, being careful to cut through only the top half and not all the way through the pod. Open the pod and scrape the vanilla seeds out with the edge of your knife.
Add the seeds, sugar, and water to a large saucepan over medium heat, but do not boil. Slowly stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let the seeds steep for 15 minutes. Strain through a chinois into bottles. The syrup will keep for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Adapted from Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual, (c) 2015 by Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.