08 December 2011

Cocktails at the Burn Pit -- Sweet Potato Not-Nog

Everybody loves egg nog. I love a homemade egg nog, but one must break a lot of eggs and many people are leery of raw egg consumption. There a a few good commercial egg nogs, but nothing beats homemade. What to do?

Recently I was in an Asian market and found a bag of candied sweet potato strips. I just love candied fruit and I am always on the lookout for a new addition to moist, chewy fruit cakes. The sweet potato wedges were a delight eaten out of the package as a snack, but I kept thinking of what I could do with them. (I have no idea how they are used in Asian cooking or if they are simply a kids snack, so if anyone knows or has recipes, do share.)

I began to think the sweet potato sticks would make a fine swizzle sticks and cocktails came to mind. I thought I would make a sweet potato nog. Traditionally a nog has an egg base, but I didn't want the addition of eggs so I made a sweet potato not-nog. Not a single egg was broken in the making of this drink.

I used roasted sweet potatoes that were mashed and then strained, to give them a silky texture. I like it a bit on the warm side, so I used the sweet potatoes while warm and warmed the milk, slightly. I used the traditional whipped cream topper, but if you want a more "sweet potato casserole" version, try adding a large toasted marshmallow or making a swizzle stick out of tiny toasted marshmallows. I tend to err on the less sweet side, so adjust the sweetening to your own taste. Finally, as a caveat, I made this a drink at a time so I have not experimented with a gigantic punch bowl full of sweet potato not-nog.

Sweet Potato Not-Nog

4 ounces mashed and strained sweet potato
1 ounce simple syrup, or more to sweeten
3/4 ounce brandy
3/4 ounce bourbon
1/4 ounce orange liquor
1 ounce milk
dash of orange bitters

1 ounce whipped cream or a toasted marshmallow
1 slice candied sweet potato, optional

In a blender, mix the sweet potato, syrup, liquors and milk until smooth. Pour into a glass. Top with some whipped cream.

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