12 Days of Holiday Food Memories: Jeffrey Morgenthaler + Egg Nog 4Eva

Rachel Tepper Paley
December 13, 2013

We asked a dozen food world luminaries to help us count down the next 12 days with culinary nostalgia, and they gave us their favorite stories of supermarket eggnog, standing rib roasts, discounted candy, and lots of cheer. Enjoy, and happy holidays!

Lettering: Brian Kaspr

Jeffrey Morgenthaler is the the bar manager of Clyde Common in Portland, OR, and the man responsible for the restaurant’s rather untraditional tequila- and Amontillado sherry-spiked eggnog. To say he’s a fan of the holiday drink is putting it lightly; Morgenthaler is an eggnog obsessive. Eggnog, he believes, lives in a place in people’s hearts and minds that defies reason.

I grew up in the 70s and 80s. One of the best things I’d ever had in my life at the time—maybe still to this day—is my mom brought home [that] crappy eggnog in a carton. And I fell in love immediately. And it really for me began a lifelong obsession with eggnog.

For me, the holidays just aren’t even remotely complete without eggnog. There was something about that flavor.

We do eggnog from my bar, and we make it from scratch and it’s really beautiful. We’re really serious about our eggnog. 

I started looking into eggnog, how to make it from scratch, about 10 years ago when there were limited resources on the web. I’m looking at old “Joy of Cooking”… Some [recipes] call for ice cream, some call for beating eggs and whites separately, which is a big no-no for me… 

We kind of have had to reverse-engineer this recipe to get what we got. It was kind of an obsession. Maybe somewhat of an unhealthy obsession.

When you make it during the holidays, it’s kind of special, it’s something to look forward to. 

But I love eggnog so much that I still get a carton of that crappy stuff. [And] once a year I have to go to Starbucks and get an eggnog latte. It’s a secret shame. My girlfriend is always like, “What the f? Really?” Every years she’s like, “Don’t drink all of that!” I usually do sneak it. 

Whether it’s really, really good eggnog or really, really bad eggnog, I can’t get enough.