Judging an eggnog contest isn't for the queasy or lactose intolerant, especially when you have to sample the potent holiday drink at 16 locations.
But that's just what I did on Saturday afternoon as part of the Fells Point Olde Tyme Christmas festival, along with Baltimore Sun restaurant critic Richard Gorelick, chef/owner Nancy Longo of Pierpoint Restaurant, festival organizer Willy Dely, and a few friends.
We met at noon to begin our task, walking from place to place. Besides the judges' winners, there was also a people's choice winner.
For several hours, we sipped and took notes. There wasn't a bad drink in the batch, but we finally narrowed our judges' picks to a top five. And they were:
1. Alexander's Tavern. We loved the mix of booze, which included RumChata and Jameson's Irish Whiskey. What really set this apart in our child hearts was the cinnamon-toast-crunch cereal sprinkled on top.
2. Tavern at the Admiral Fell Inn, pictured. Rum, bourbon, brandy—need I say more. We also liked the gingerbread-man cookie and candy-cane garnish, too.
3. Cat's Eye Pub. Terri the bartender, pictured, served up a family recipe that resonated with bourbon, rum, and freshly grated nutmeg.
4. The Point in Fells. The serving station made it easy to have the delicious drink that had a tropical flair with passion fruit and pineapple.
5. Party Dress. Yes, not just bars participated. The dress shop had an elegant libation with white rum served in a glass punch bowl. There was also a tray of yummy treats. We were impressed with the freshly grated chocolate on top.
And the people's choice: the Tavern at the Admiral Fell Inn.
Willy tells me there may be another cocktail contest during Fells Point's Privateer Day in April.
I may have recovered by then.
Photos by me