The other night Mrs. Flannestad and I were visiting Old Bus Tavern and bartender Rachel Leiderman was excited to have us try something she was working on, a spiced nut milk.
We tried it and were blown away. Both Mrs. Flannestad and I were of the opinion, “Why would you drink gross, gloppy, egg nog, when you could instead drink delicious spicy nut milk?”
So I sent Rachel a note a couple days later and asked her to let me come in and watch her make it. Rachel got her starting place from a recipe on Bon Appetit: Basic Nut Milk and added some tweaks inspired by local Nut Milk Purveyors Living Apothecary.
Rachel is still working on the process and deciding whether she will make it for the bar menu, but stop by and ask her for it. If she doesn’t have Nut Milk made, she can always make something else tasty, alcoholic or not.
(Since “Spiced Nut Milk” sounds like something you squeeze out of a grumpy old walnut tree, so I am making an executive decision to call this beverage “Nut Nog”. Get it?)
1 Cup Nuts (Rachel used a blend of almonds, pecans, and pumpkin seeds)
4 tsp Agave Nectar
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
2 TBSP Rolled Oats
3 dates, chopped
2 TBSP Fresh Ginger, peeled and chopped
2 TBSP Fresh Tumeric, peeled and chopped (wear rubber gloves when cleaning and chopping, will stain your hands.)
1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1 tsp Cloves, ground
1 tsp Allspice, ground
4 Cups Hot Water
Equipment: Blender (preferably Vitamix or similar), Fine Strainer, Nut Bag.
Step 1. Soak Your Nuts.
Cover the nuts with water by 2 inches and leave to soak overnight. Drain nuts and rinse.
Step 2. Grind Your Nuts.
Add nuts and remaining dry ingredients to bowl of blender (preferably high powered, as in VitaMix or similar). Begin grinding ingredients and pour in hot water as you go. When you can no longer see nut pieces, stop grinding.
Step 3. Squeeze Your Nuts.
Pour mixture through fine strainer, and press to extract as much liquid as possible. Remove nut and spice solids and compost or feed to your livestock (Mmmm, tasty, spiced ham!). If you don’t mind it a bit gritty, you can stop here. Otherwise, line strainer with nut milk bag and strain liquid again. Allow to drain, this will take a while. Squeeze solids nut milk bag to extract as much liquid as possible.
Step 4. Enjoy Your Nut Nog.
Serve warm or cold, garnished with freshly grated nutmeg. Makes about 3 cups. Refrigerated, it will keep for several days.