Food & Drink

Inspired Entertaining: Creating a Perfect Party with Holiday Drinks

Festive cocktails and a handed-down eggnog recipe will spike your celebrations.

Story by Stewart Lane  |  Recipes and Styling by Lon Lane & Stewart Lane  |  Photos by Jason Dailey

Eggnog. Why do we anticipate its appearance in our grocer’s dairy section, buy that one carton every year, take a few obligatory sips during tree trimming and then relegate it to the back of the fridge?

Eggnog is a drink with a patriotic past—the original drink of the British colonies, crossing the Atlantic in the 18th century. In honor of that provenance, I want to take the annual eggnog experience back to how it should be enjoyed—and throw in my own family’s history with the drink.

Years ago, right after World War II, my great-grandmother “Big Mama” moved to Washington, D.C. and opened the Betty Alden Inn, right across the street from the United States Capitol. A strong-willed woman, Big Mama operated the inn as a boarding house for returning soldiers coming home from the front lines. Her inn was named after the first child born in the new colonies, the daughter of two passengers on the Mayflower.

Big Mama knew how to keep her tenants in good spirits and one trick was her eggnog. The recipe shared nothing in common with the thick custardy mixes we see today; instead, her eggnog was light and foamy, but with enough booze to knock a horse down. Big Mama’s motto suggested the perfect ratio: “a shot of booze per egg you use.” You can scale this robust drink down a bit, but for the true taste of history, I suggest you join Big Mama and go full strength (and make sure your guests have designated drivers or Uber home).

Linger at the bar a bit and imbibe in some new American cocktails, too. At Inspired Occasions, we often use these drinks to set the stage at intimate soirees and large functions alike; they’re always a hit.

The holidays are a time of gathering, sharing and love. We here at Inspired Occasions wish you and all of yours the happiest of days and inspired holiday entertaining.

Create some of Lon Lane’s most popular holiday cocktails with these recipes!


About KC Magazine’s Inspired Entertaining Experts

Lon Lane founded Inspired Occasions in 1991 and has been serving and dazzling clients in Kansas City and nationwide with his innovative and creative style ever since. Stewart joined Inspired Occasions in 2012 after studying abroad and acting as supervisory chef for the USA House during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Together the father-and-son culinary team train and educate professional organizations and industry colleagues around the country on the finer points of well-executed catering.