Enter the Dragon

Barrelhouse Flat gives eggnog an Italian spin

Think of the Sicilian Dragon as the sophisticated, slender Southern Italian cousin of classic eggnog.

When we first tasted the drink at Barrelhouse Flat, as research for our annual Best Cocktails roundup, we had a single thought: This is what we want once 'nog season rolls around.

There's no cream in this concoction, and eggnog's traditional companions, bourbon and rum, are swapped for gin and Averna, that caramel-y, Sicilian-made liqueur. There's egg, but here it's shaken whole and left raw, lending the finished drink a silky, indulgent feel.

For your winter drinking pleasure, we've snagged the recipe (click here to see). It's an excellent opener for a holiday dinner party. Lightly bitter, smooth and gently sweet, it makes an ideal closer, too, especially alongside a plate of festive cookies.

At Barrelhouse Flat, we'd happily sip it with plates from the bar's newly expanded menu–like quinoa with roasted Maitake mushrooms and Brussels sprouts.

A tip when making the drink at home: Use the freshest eggs and shake with purpose; it takes 15 seconds of serious agitation to dilute the mixture to the ideal creamy texture.

It's well worth the workout; this is one holiday drink you'll be happy to raise in salute.

The Barrelhouse Flat, 2624 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-857-0421 or barrelhouseflat.com