I love holiday parties. Andrew and I have hosted one every year practically since we met (except for last year when we had just moved and didn’t know many people yet and I was almost in my third trimester and not feeling up to a party + eggnog was extra off limits with the alcohol and the raw eggs). I have my favorite party playlist, with Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and a LOT of the Jackson 5. I have my favorite party snacks: namely, sausage cheese balls (which are basically equal parts spicy breakfast sausage, cheddar, and Bisquick mixed together, rolled into balls, and baked—amazing). And I always make a big bowl of eggnog, which the eggnog skeptics seem to end up drinking more of than anyone else does.
But mostly I have my favorite party people, the regulars at our get-togethers and the special guests. Ethan and Alicia, who were always on time, while everyone else was two hours late; Hery, who probably walked two hours from Queens for fun, and Susy who came from doing makeup at a fancy wedding; Alec and Yulia, who brought the most interesting wine; Juan and Leonor, who came with their instruments after a gig; Aaron, who brought some kind of smoked fish or pickled herring from working at the fish market earlier in the day; Amrita, Andrew, and Jed, who brought the best gossip and a different fun friend each time; Leticia, whom I’ve known since high school, and who also brought a different fun friend each time; Adam, who always brought a large can of a different kind of imperial stout to share; Matt and Kevin, who would each try to hijack the playlist; Dayeon, who was rarely there at all because of some church gig or another so was really like a unicorn; Susmita, who only came once or twice before she moved back to Canada temporarily and whose advanced social skills rather stunned the jazz nerds; and Keri, who was sometimes in town from Chicago and remembers the holiday parties that happened back when I lived there and our band the Pseudo Sisters was formed, I believe, for the very purpose of performing arrangements of Christmas songs at one of the parties, which would go until 4 am.
I’m missing all of these characters quite a lot. Our party won’t be the same this year (we are inviting Andrew’s sister and her fiance, our quaranteam, so we will have a fun-but-tiny crowd), but I’ll still be making the sausage cheese balls, and a (much smaller) batch of eggnog to get us into the holiday spirit. We are excited about the very special guest joining us, our own tiny tot celebrating her first Christmas and Hanukkah. And hoping that next year we’ll be clinking glasses again with some of the usual suspects. Happy holidays, everyone, and cheers!
Eggnog for Two
serves at least 4 (2 very generously or with leftovers, which make excellent French toast)
- 2 large eggs
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups half and half
- 1/3 cup brandy
- 1/3 cup bourbon
- 1/3 cup dark rum
- freshly grated nutmeg
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy, about five minutes. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and half and half until well blended. Add the brandy, bourbon, and rum. Stir, cover, and chill until cold, at least three hours. Grate nutmeg on top and serve.
Note: You can use any combo of brandy, whisky, bourbon, cognac, or rum that you have, though the dark rum is really good. Or leave out the booze entirely for a nonalcoholic version.