Lighter Than Eggnog: Drambuie White Nail Cocktail Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Looking for a lighter alternative to eggnog this holiday season? Something rich and boozy and fragrant, but without the heaviness cream and eggs? How about this tasty new recipe made with whole milk, the Drambuie White Nail?

The creation of mixologist, Ashley Schirmer, who tends bar at Ulysses Folk House in Lower Manhattan, the White Nail was the New York regional winner in a recent cocktail competition sponsored by Drambuie. (Full disclosure: I was one of the judges.)

With a name reminiscent of that quintessential Drambuie cocktail, the Rusty Nail, the White Nail is really a closer cousin to a milk punch than it is to an eggnog. It has a simple list of ingredients – a few of which you may already have on hand from holiday baking: whole milk, Drambuie, vanilla extract, bitters, and fresh nutmeg – making the White Nail almost as easy to mix as it is to sip.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

I asked Ashley how she came up with this winning recipe:

“My original inspiration for my White Nail is actually based on the classic pairing of milk and honey – Drambuie (although it has numerous other flavors) is primarily a honey liqueur so I thought the pairing might work – and the combination is perfect. The milk does a great job of wrangling the sweetness and viscosity of the spirit but in no way takes away from it. After that I decided to use Fee Brothers Bitters because it has heavy notes of cinnamon which drew out the warm spices and the vanilla extract was just to compound on the milk and honey. Another thing that was really important to me was versatility. I served it up which I think looks beautiful and used freshly grated nutmeg as a garnish not only because of the heavy nutmeg notes in Drambuie itself, but also because it’s very seasonal and festive – but who’s to say it can’t be served on the rocks with a dash of vanilla bitters on top or countless other ways.”

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The White Nail (by Ashley Schirmer, reprinted with permission)
makes one cocktail

1 1/2 ounces Drambuie
2 ounces whole milk
1/4 ounce vanilla extract
1-2 dashes cinnamon bitters (Ashley used Fee’s Old Fashion bitters, which have strong cinnamon notes, but I substituted Angostura and then used a cinnamon stick garnish)
Garnishes: freshly grated nutmeg and/or cinnamon stick

Combine all ingredients (except garnishes) in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with fresh nutmeg and/or cinnamon stick. Or alternatively, serve in an old fashioned glass on the rocks.

What kind of cocktails are you making this holiday season?

Nora Maynard is a longtime home mixologist and an occasional instructor at NYC’s Astor Center. She is a contributor to The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and is the recipient of the American Egg Board Fellowship in culinary writing at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. She previously covered food and drink in film at The Kitchn in her weekly column, The Celluloid Pantry.

(Images: Nora Maynard)