Half Christmas Eggnog Recipe

Half Christmas EggnogIn the spirit of half Christmas I’ve decided to share with you this great and easy eggnog recipe, which I’ve perfected since the half Christmas days of yore. This will take approximately 30 minutes to make or an hour-and-a-half total, if you include chill time. Alternatively, if you’re just looking for a place to grab a half Christmas drink with friend click here.

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 whole cloves
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of cream
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp each of bourbon and rum or brandy (feel free to use more!)

Here’s what need to do:

  1. Place egg yolks in a large bowl.  Whisk until slightly lighter in color. Slowly add in sugar while whisking. Whisk until fluffy.
  2. Place milk, cinnamon and cloves in a large saucepan. Slowly heat on medium, stirring occasionally until steaming hot (DO NOT BOIL).
  3. Slowly add half of the hot milk into the bowl of egg mix, whisking continuously. Carefully pour contents of bowl back into the saucepan.
  4. Heat the mixture on medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. As before, get the mixture steaming hot, but do not allow it to boil. Remove from heat and stir in cream. To remove cloves, strain mixture using a mesh strainer. Let it cool for one hour (or throw it in the refrigerator if you’re in a rush to get to your half Christmas party!)
  5. The final step! Mix in nutmeg, vanilla extract and bourbon/rum and brandy (don’t be afraid to get generous here!).  Chill and enjoy!

BlockBeacon Launches iPhone App for Food and Drink Deals

BlockBeacon iPhone App Screenshot

BlockBeacon got some great TechCrunch love this week! The article announced the launch of our iPhone app, which aggregates local lunch, dinner, and happy hour specials and deals from Facebook and Twitter, as well as promotions posted directly from local businesses. BlockBeacon is still young, but we’re excited about our team and product. Thank you to TechCrunch and Anthony Ha for sharing our passion for the social, local, and mobile space with the world. You can read the article here.


BlockBeacon: Just the Beginning

“If only there were a way to see what’s going on in [insert your city here] right now, without driving, parking, walking around, calling local stores or visiting dozens of websites…”

BlockBeacon was born from a simple observation and a real-life problem that needed solving. The hyper-local world was disconnected, making multiple parts of our daily lives much more inefficient than need be. While we’ve come to enjoy dozens of products that connect us seamlessly to our friends, family, influencers, charities and global brands, we had no good way to discover and connect with the restaurants, retailers and other businesses that comprise our local communities. It became clear to us that, with the right combination of social media tools, geo-enabled mobile phones, email and SMS, we could connect with these local businesses in a useful and efficient way. We then set out to build the first platform architected to enable and facilitate this connection: BlockBeacon.

Like any startup, we first aimed to prove that a problem actually existed – that we were addressing a true “pain point” and not simply building a product that seemed fun to work on. The most interesting and rewarding part of our discovery process was learning that we were actually simultaneously addressing TWO pain points, both very real, and validated in hundreds of market research interviews and conversations.

From the consumer perspective, was the observation that there’s no way to find out what’s going on at local businesses without walking around, asking friends, or calling businesses directly. Of course, there are other products out there that address components of this problem indirectly. Foursquare tells you where your friends have been recently, Groupon Now lets you purchase coupons from nearby businesses, and other event sites give you a monthly calendar view of activities in your city. Yet, no one seemed to be addressing this pain point directly, in a scalable way.

The flipside of the coin was perhaps more eye opening. We met with owners and managers of over 200 local businesses in our own backyard of Santa Monica, California to learn how they market to and build relationships with local customers. Our findings were even more surprising than we could’ve imagined. The most frequently cited “marketing tools” included: monthly email newsletters with incredibly low open rates; a nearly static website built years ago by a family friend; and (gasp) in-store signage, such as chalkboards and hand-written signs. It was clear that local merchants were due for an upgrade to their marketing arsenal…

After several months of validation that there is a need for a product to address these pain points, our mission and vision began to take shape. Simply put, BlockBeacon’s mission is to connect local businesses and local consumers when their needs and wants match.
We are the only website and mobile application that provides consumers with a live-view of exactly what local businesses have to offer TODAY. We simultaneously provide local merchants with an easy way to publish real-time specials and marketing messages directly to our maps and apps. No purchase required, no waiting whatsoever.

In a couple short months since our launch here in Santa Monica, the response has been nothing short of amazing. We have hundreds of local businesses using our platform in various ways, and have powered some of the most high-profile dining-related events in Southern California, including dineLA Restaurant WeekOrange County Restaurant WeekPasadena Restaurant Week, the BuyLocal Weekend in Santa Monica and more. Not only that, we’ve been embraced by our very own Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce as one of their favorite products to connect and stimulate the local economy. Our short-term plans now also include rolling out to several major West-coast cities with the support of their own local governments and city organizations. It’s a win-win-win for local consumers, local businesses and the city and governmental organizations supporting them….and people are taking notice!

Many, many more updates to come, but for now we’d love for you to poke around our website, find somewhere awesome to grab lunch or enjoy a happy hour, tell a few friends about us and send along any feedback you have (brandon.mills@blockbeacon.com). If you’re in the Santa Monica area look for any of our 9 team members bouncing around the 3rd Street Promenade in our Team BlockBeacon t-shirts, and don’t be a stranger!

Brandon Mills
Cofounder and CEO, BlockBeacon Inc.