A holiday treat the whole family will hate
Written by Sean Wilkinson
Photos and reflux by The Fuge (a.k.a. Mich Ouellette)
In honor of the triumphant rise of Jesus and the subsequent hunt for colored eggs he led his disciples on, we submit to you this special holiday drink, the Yard of Flannel.
Yard of Flannel
1 quart of ale
4 oz. gold rum
4 raw eggs
3 oz. superfine granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1. Mix the eggs, rum, sugar and spices in a large bowl. Beat well.
2. Heat the ale in a saucepan to just under a boil; do not boil the ale.
3. Slowly pour the ale into the egg mixture while continuously whisking to prevent curdling. Continue to whisk until the mixture is creamy.
4. “Enjoy” the Yard of Flannel in a warmed mug.
The Yard of Flannel essentially replaces the cream in eggnog with hot beer. It’s beernog. The Bollard staff stumbled upon this recipe in an old bartending book. The book made no mention of the source of the drink or the origin of its strange name. Intrigued, we decided this concoction had to be imbibed.
Fellow Bollard art director Mich Ouellette and I went into this experiment with open minds – that is, with minds as open as they can be while gathering the above ingredients and knowing they are going to be combined, heated and consumed. Hot beer itself is just wrong. In fact, the first time I had serious doubts about this drink was when I asked Mich, “Should I start boiling the beer now?” This question should never be asked; I hope it is never written again. My stomach turned as soon as I spoke those words.
Our fears were not allayed by the transformation then taking place in the mixing bowl. As I heated the ale (we chose Geary’s Pale), Mich was experiencing his own horror whisking the eggs, rum, sugar and spices together. He just kept saying, “This is not going to be good. This is going to be bad. This is not going to be good….”
The time came to combine the two parts: the hot, steamy beer and the frothy egg-rum-sugar-cinnamon-nutmeg slurry. We reached the height of our hopes at this stage. Here is where the lead turns into gold, we told ourselves. Here is where we create a hot and steamy drink whose wonderful taste is far greater than the sum of its odd parts. Here is where our efforts pay off, where we bring a long-forgotten holiday cocktail back to popularity, much to the delight of the masses.
I poured the beer into the egg mixture while Mich stirred. Bubbles turned into foam, and hints of nutmeg and cinnamon wafted from the bowl. By God, this is actually working! The mixture got slightly thicker. Not exactly what I’d call “creamy,” but some kind of transformation was indeed taking place. Careful optimism crept back into our experiment.
We transferred the bowl from the sink to the table and took this photograph…
The sight of the brownish-yellow, semi-opaque liquid assailed our careful optimism, but that first sip was promising. A spicy-sweet, malty warmth coated the tongue. Then it reached the taste buds. I remember Mich’s words distinctly: “It’s like drinking a warm bucket of piss and puke!”
Ever the professional, Mich then continued the experiment, pausing as needed to gag.
I felt Mich’s assessment was a bit exaggerated, so I sipped again, trying desperately to justify the hours we’d just spent shopping for eggs and rum, cooking beer and whisking. It was a few more sips before I finally smelled it: the reek of warm, raw egg combined with warm beer. My own gag reflex flexed. My stomach somersaulted. I couldn’t drink any more.
Mich was gagging continuously by now. In desperate need of water, he bypassed a glass to quaff directly from the faucet. He was clutching his stomach, holding back tears, defending against a sudden attack of acid reflux. We scarfed down hunks of bread and butter to try to patch the holes this drink was burning in our guts. It was like drinking perfume. Cheap perfume. Perfume someone’s grandmother bought them for Easter, bottled in a pink glass container shaped like ballet slippers with a real pink ribbon attached, a ribbon tattered and faded and stained brown from years rolling around in the junk drawer.
Needless to say, we were disappointed in the Yard of Flannel. We did not relish pouring the contents of the bowl down the toilet after only drinking about eight ounces. However, we did feel a sense of accomplishment for having followed our research through to its enlightening conclusion. And we’re glad we can provide readers with an informed account for future reference, in the unlikely event someone offers you a mug of this poison next holiday season.