By Amy Loritali

1 December 2021


Pittsford Dairy Eggnog, Dairy-Free Holiday Nog, Homemade Nog[1], or whatever your pleasure, if you choose to spike your Nog, you need only one thing:  gin. Don’t be afraid, I know, it sounds crazy. You’ve always been told that rum and whiskey are the proper spirits for spiking nog. Maybe brandy. But you’re wrong. And worse, you’re missing out.

I agree, it seems counter-intuitive to spike a creamy beverage with… gin. Gin, we’ve been taught, pairs with citrus and herbaceous things. But Barr Hill ‘Tom Cat’ Barrel Aged Gin from Caledonia Spirits is not simply gin. This is a gin that has been aged in new American oak and infused with raw honey. New oak barrel aging softens some of the elbow-y-ness that you might associate with gin, adding the certain caramel-y richness you expect from brown spirits. In fact, upon tasting, you’d be forgiven for thinking this just might be whiskey or even rum.

But beyond the bourbony boldness and rum-ish robustness, this dram offers an extra dimension:  the genuine ginniness of juniper. This coniferous quality melds with the allspice and nutmeg that transform eggnog from merely a drinkable custard into the holiday season beverage of choice. And lo! The-oft maligned juniper becomes the very transformation of this holiday cocktail from pithy and adequate to downright stellar.

So as you don your horns and mask this Krampusnacht[2] and ready yourself to terrify the neighborhood children into good behavior, keep yourself warm with a mug of holiday nog, enlivened with a dram of Barr Hill’s ‘Tom Cat’ Barrel Aged Gin. At the least, you’ll be able to give the neighbors a good scare when you first tell them you’ve spiked your nog with gin.

Disclaimer:  The author has no affiliation whatsoever with Caledonia Spirits or Barr Hill, and is merely a seeker of the best in holiday beverages.

[1] A fantastic history of eggnog is available here:

[2] For those unfamiliar with the holiday: