Lightbulb Oven: Winter cocktail edition!

I love winter beverages! Here's a few that I wanted to share before New Year's. Believe me when I say I will be having all three of these before we exit 2009.

Caramel Hot Chocolate

For a grown ups-only version of this yummy drink, add about 2 ounces of Godiva or Starbucks liqueur, Kahlua, or dark rum to this dessert-worthy drink.

Per serving

1 cup milk
3 caramels (or 2 tablespoons caramel sauce)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

Combine the milk and caramels or caramel sauce in a small saucepan
over low heat. Whisk to melt caramel. When caramels are blended in,
whisk in cocoa. Continue whisking to blend and froth slightly. Serve
with whipped cream or marshmallows.

Bourbon Milk Punch

I am kind of in love with this Southern drink! Even though it's cold, it's kind of rich so I think better suited for winter than warm weather. I also like to add seltzer and a little vanilla sometimes for a grown-up egg cream.

For each cocktail

2 ounces bourbon or dark rum
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
8 ounces milk
freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Cracked ice

In a cocktail shaker, combine the bourbon, sugar, and milk. Add ice to
fill and shake to mix. Strain into a tall glass and top with a
sprinkle of nutmeg, if desired.

Homemade Eggnog

If you've only had eggnog from a carton, you really need to try a homemade one. It's much less cloyingly sweet and so much more satisyfing! It can also be made without bourbon if you prefer.

4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1/2 cup bourbon
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch cloves

Combine the egg yolks and half the sugar in a heatproof bowl. Heat
inch water in a saucepan until simmering and place the bowl on top.
Whisk until the yolks have thickened and are pale yellow. Whisk in
the milk and bourbon and remove from the heat. In the bowl of a mixer,
whip the egg whites and the remaining sugar until soft peaks form.
Fold a third of the whites into the yolk mixture, then gently fold
that mixture back into the rest of the whites.

Beat the cream, nutmeg, and cloves until the cream is thickened but
not stiff. Fold into the egg mixture and chill until ready to serve.

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