No matter the time of year, folks in South Louisiana tend to be masters of home mixology. Whether it’s a raucous Mardi Gras celebration or classy New Year’s Eve gathering, you’re bound to find a delicious cocktail at any Cajun house party.
That includes Christmas. Lafayette native and former One Flew South bartender Tiffanie Barriere loves classic eggnog, and she especially loves it the way her mom makes it—with cognac. Cognac was America’s favorite spirit for cocktails in the 19th century, and while the rest of the country mostly abandoned the aged French brandy in favor of whiskey, it’s remained popular in Louisiana ever since. (Credit the state’s French heritage—and the appeal of classic cognac cocktails invented there, like the Sazerac and Vieux Carré.) While rum or bourbon might be more typical base spirits for eggnog, milk punch, and other creamy cocktails, cognac adds a lovely floral and fruity character. “It’s sweeter and really balances out the milk and nutmeg, but it’s still super-boozy,” Barriere says.
For this version, Barriere recommends Adet Cognac, but says any bottling aged at least eight years will work nicely. She also recommends serving the drink in a proper Hurricane glass, although a large wine glass will work fine, too. “Because I’m from the bayou and the Hurricane is our thing, my mom has tons of curvy, old-school Hurricane glasses,” she says.
Barriere recently relocated to Mobile, Alabama, where she’s opening the hotly anticipated new restaurant, Southern National, with the other founders of One Flew South, chefs Duane Nutter and Reggie Washington. No matter where she is, though, Barriere can capture the spirit of the holidays in Louisiana with one sip.