Even on their own, bone marrow and eggnog are divisive objects. Leave it to Bestia, the Arts District hot spot whose charcuterie boards are the stuff of legend, to combine these two loved-and-hated ingredients into a cocktail.
Whether you like or loathe eggnog or bone marrow, the wonderful thing about mixology (in theory) is that the sum cocktail will be greater than its individual parts. It appears this holds true for Bestia's bone marrow eggnog, which has managed to attract a surprising following at the restaurant's bar.
Bestia cocktail director Jeremy Simpson got the idea for the drink while watching a woman on television churning bone marrow and cream at an ice cream shop in Portland, Oregon. (Salt and Straw, perhaps?) "I thought, 'Wow, that looks really good,' and we have bone marrow at the restaurant," Simpson says. Chef Ori Menashe, perhaps unshockingly, thought Simpson's idea sounded fantastic.
Menashe has been serving roasted bone marrow at Bestia since the restaurant opened, paired with spinach gnocchetti, crispy breadcrumbs and a drizzle of aged balsamic. Now they had found a way to use some of the would-be-discarded bone marrow fat. "We take it and measure it with cream," Simpson explains. "It's three parts heavy cream to one part bone marrow fat, and we blend it on really low speed so it's like a churn. What comes out is whipped cream." A rich, savory, bone marrow–flavored whipped cream.
Simpson then adds Angostura bitters, salt and an egg yolk to a shaker. "There's an old cocktail called a flip, where they use egg yolk and cream to give the drink a really cool texture," he says. He then adds 3/4 of an ounce of the bone marrow cream, followed by simple syrup, cherry Heering liqueur and 1.5 ounces of 100-proof Rittenhouse Rye. "The whiskey lends some spice. You need a higher-proof, spicier whiskey to stand up in a drink like this," he notes.
At first Simpson shakes the liquid slowly with no ice. He's giving it a "dry whip" to emulsify the ingredients. Then he adds ice and shakes it a bit longer, explaining over the loud clank of ice on metal that, since the drink involves egg yolk rather than egg white, it needs to be shaken harder to properly froth.
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The creamy brown liquid is poured through a strainer and into a lowball glass. The drink is finished with a dusting of equal parts cinnamon and cracked black pepper. The result is a creamy, balanced, boozy treat that has a distinct savoriness but tastes less like roasted marrow than you might imagine.
The cocktail first appeared on the menu around the holiday season, but it's remained popular enough that Simpson plans to keep it on the menu for the foreseeable future. Who says eggnog season is over?