Specialty drinks to toast the season

EggNogHoliday-oriented drinks are not a new phenomenon. Eggnog has roots that trace back to Medieval times. But with the recent trend toward menus that evolve with the seasons, wintry beverages are more popular than ever in the Annapolis area.

Last year, a week before Christmas, Galway Bay had a problem. They ran out of eggnog.

The Annapolis restaurant and pub imports its creamy liquor, bottled just for them, from a company in County Cavan, Ireland. It arrives sometime in October. Last year, thanks to its massive popularity, it didn't even make it through December. People go crazy for it, says Galway Bay General Manager Sean Lynch.

Restaurants and bars in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., area have embraced the national trend for special holiday drinks with gusto. From Galway Bay's eggnog to trendy cocktails and seasonal beer, here are a few of our favorite ways to toast the season.

Click next below for holiday drinks in the Annapolis area.

Holiday drinks in the Annapolis area

Go Irish

galway bay WGalway Bay's Authentic Irish Egg Nog, which is bottled just for the pub, isn't quite like the grocery store stuff many Americans know well.

"A lot of people in this country know eggnog from the kind you add alcohol to. Usually, that's heavy-handed," Lynch laughs. "In this, the alcohol is already in it and it's milky in consistency. It lends itself well to being added to other drinks, like coffee or tea."

At Galway Bay, the bar has created a dozen or so cocktails using its Authentic Irish Egg Nog, including the Drunken Monk, a warm toddy of its Egg Nog, B&B Dom Liqueur, coffee and whipped cream.

People also buy bottles for their own use or to give as gifts. Lynch says that some customers buy a case, knocking out their holiday shopping with one trip to the pub. This year, Galway Bay has increased its order to meet demand, and they hope it lasts through Christmas.

Galway Bay, 63 Maryland Ave., Annapolis; 410-263-8333; galwaybaymd.com
Galway Bay's Egg Nog can also be found at:
Killarney House in Davidsonville and Brian Boru in Severna Park.

Cover Your Bases

No matter what your poison of preference, Columbia's Victoria Gastro Pub has a holiday option for you.

"We have two drinks we make in-house for the holiday season," explains Brendan McCool, the pub's senior operations manager and chief cocktail strategist.

The first, he says, is a wintry spin on a piña colada, using favorite seasonal spices like clove and nutmeg and a combination of blood orange liqueur, yogurt liqueur, pineapple juice and coconut rum. The combination is beachy and fun – but with a hint of Christmas.

The second is a homemade mulled wine made with red Bordeaux mixed with honey, cinnamon, ginger, brown sugar, brandy and orange zest. Mulled wine, which is sweet and served warm, has a long history associated with the holiday season. It was imbibed during Medieval winters (when it was associated with good health), appeared in cookbooks as early as the 16thcentury and was popular among the residents of Victorian England.

If you prefer beer, Victoria Gastro Pub has you covered, too, with a gingerbread latte stout and a traditional Belgian-style quad, both of which are brewed by the pub's own Manor Hill Brewing. Those beers, along with seasonal options from other breweries, will be available on tap and in bottles all season, says co-owner Tori Buscher.

Victoria Gastro Pub, 8201 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia; 410-750-1880; victoriagastropub.com

Pie in a Glass

Pumpkintini2 WDiners who enjoy drinking their desserts will fall in love with the Pumpkintini at Grille 620 in Turf Valley. A combination of house-infused vanilla vodka, Fulton pumpkin liqueur and pumpkin pie filling, the drink is served in a glass with a sprinkle of nutmeg and a cinnamon rim. It is truly a sweet mouthful of holiday dessert.

Grille 620, Turf Valley Towne Square, 11099 Resort Rd., #304, Ellicott City; 410-203-0620; grille620.com

Get Trendy

Shrubs – or fruit-based drinking vinegars – are one of the hottest ingredients behind the bar today. It's no surprise, then, that Fox's Den, the creative pizza and drink spot that opened on Main Street in Annapolis earlier this year, has embraced them.

This season, the Fox's Den bartenders will be mixing house-made apple shrub with bourbon and finishing the drink with flamed orange peel. Lighting the peel on fire works like adding a twist: It squeezes the oil out of the peel and into the drink, slightly caramelizing it on the way. In this case, that means it infuses the woodsy, tart apple and bourbon drink with a bright, sweet bit of orange acidity.

Fox's Den, 179 B Main St., Annapolis; 443-808-8991; foxsden.com

By Kit Waskom Pollard

Click next below for a recipe for Eggnog French toast.


Eggnog French toast recipe

Galway Bay's Irish Egg Nog is popular as a drink – and as an ingredient. "There are any number of things you can do with it," says General Manager Sean Lynch. The recipe below, for eggnog French toast, is a favorite.

2 eggs, beaten slightly
1 ½ cups eggnog
1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
12 slices of Irish soda bread
Extra cinnamon, powdered sugar and syrup for serving

  1. Whisk the eggs, eggnog and cinnamon together in a mixing bowl until well blended. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish.
  2. Dip one slice of bread at a time into the eggnog mixture, being sure to coat each side of the bread thoroughly.
  3. Place the prepared bread slices onto a preheated skillet and cook, turning once, until golden brown on each side.
  4. Place cooked slices on a serving plate and cover with foil to keep warm until all French toast is cooked. Top with a little bit of cinnamon, powdered sugar and syrup.

Published with permission from Galway Bay. For more recipes and cocktail ideas, visit galwaybaymd.com/pdfs/EggNogDrinks2012.pdf