Nothing quite brings the holiday cheer and jeer like a heavily spiked eggnog. Though easily ladled from spiked punch bowls today, back in the 1800s, this drink would have been shaken into a frothy booze-bomb. Likely stemming from a thick medieval grog called posset, it’s not a taste for everyone, but at DBGB in New York City, they’ve perfected a lighter approach.

In crafting the Better Butter Up, head bartender Sam Hernandez started with the unusual choice of butternut squash. It’s not the easiest flavor or texture to mix into cocktails, but Hernandez knew that cream, cinnamon and maple syrup would complement the squash’s rich, nutty profile, while also laying the foundation for a delicious egg cocktail. Careful blending and straining via cheesecloth is crucial for the light texture. Separately, Sam fat-washes bourbon with brown butter, a process pioneered by Don Lee at PDT for his Benton’s bacon–infused old-fashioned.

Both preparations come together with a whole egg for a good shake and nutmeg garnish, making the final creation of the Better Butter Up behind the bar rather simple. Golden in hue, the drink is a surprising balance of each element, with the squash and bourbon marrying seamlessly. More sweet than spirited, it’s a fitting after-dinner drink for any of the colder months and about as far as you can get from the mystery nog that comes in carton form. Enjoy this instead.


Servings: 1 cocktail

2 ounces aged rum
1/2 ounce heavy cream
3/4 ounce simple syrup
Egg yolk


  1. Combine ingredients into a shaker tin and shake briefly without ice to emulsify yolk.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a sour glass and garnish with nutmeg.

Better Butter Up

Servings: 1 cocktail

1 1/2 ounces brown butter bourbon*
1 1/2 ounces butternut squash cream**
1 whole egg

*Brown butter bourbon: 

  1. Gently brown 1 stick of butter, cooked with a vanilla bean.
  2. Add brown butter to bourbon and let chill overnight.
  3. In the morning, strain bourbon through cheesecloth and store for later use.

**Butternut squash cream:

  1. Roast one butternut squash rubbed with brown sugar until soft.
  2. Cook on the stovetop with maple syrup, heavy cream and fresh grated nutmeg.
  3. Whisk or blend with an immersion blender wand until the consistency is silky and smooth.
  4. Add cinnamon sticks and let steep for 30 minutes.
  5. Strain liquid through a cheesecloth and refrigerate for later use.


  1. In a shaker, combine all ingredients with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg.

Prep Time: 5 minutes, not including bourbon or cream prep
Difficulty: Moderate