Bacon in Your Egg Nog?! Nogtail Knockout: District vs. J&G Steakhouse
Although egg nog cocktails used to be somewhat of a seasonal staple in most bars around this time of year, craft cocktailing has seemed to make this tradition almost disappear entirely. The classification of egg nog cocktail just relies on booze plus nog, although the liquors paired with nog most frequently are cognac, brandy and rum. We've found two rum-based nogtails in town clinging onto this Christmas classic, while updating it with homemade egg nog, freshly ground spices and (wait for it, wait for it) bacon. While you can try them both through the end of the year, only one of these creamy concoctions will win the title of the holliest, jolliest X-mas drink.
Heather Hoch District competes with its Hog Nog cocktail.
In This Corner: The Hog Nog at District American Kitchen and Wine Bar
With the halls of the District lightly decked in holiday gear including large trees covered in big red and gold ornaments, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas for this nogtail knockout. Our first stop in this battle is off Van Buren and Third streets in the Sheraton Hotel. District is known for erring on the odd side sometimes with their experimentation, including questionable use of cheese balls in dishes. However, the Hog Nog, a baconed-up nogtail, might just be the experiment that blows us away.
Billed on the menu as a $9 Schreiner's bacon-infused Rogue hazelnut rum with housemade cinnamon eggnog and candied bacon, we had no immediate qualms with any of the components involved. Despite being known mostly as a beer maker, Rogue puts out some quality spirits, including a pretty great gin aged in pinot barrels. Plus it's bacon-infused and not a bacon-flavored liquor, so that's also reassuring. The cinnamon egg nog is delightfully foamy and frothy with a perfectly velvety texture. Its spiced aroma and creamy sweet flavor was definitely the best part of this nogtail.
Alright, kids, time for bed -- it's Grinch time. We were promised candied bacon and got none. We assumed there'd be bacon flavor in the Hog Nog, but tasted none. Honestly, though, we could've overlooked the lack of bacon if the cocktail was solid on its own. Unfortunately, the heavy-handed rum pour all but ruined our drink. Rarely is a strong spirit flavor an issue, especially when it's quality, but we were really hoping for balance that showcased the delicate and delicious egg nog that District made from scratch. Instead, our poor nog was entirely overpowered by its rum counterpart.