Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Sips & Shots: Eggnog

Don’t think of this as unseasonal, just think of this as a very timely suggestion for any Christmas-in-July celebrations you may be planning!

(Seriously, my other e-option was Everclear and, well, we don’t want to go there…)

Eggnog is one of those dividing drinks: you either love it or hate it and I reside firmly in the former camp. I could drink gallons of the stuff when it’s in season and I must say that I all but did a dance right there in the grocery-store aisle when I found Lactaid-brand Eggnog last season. (Alas, among other things, I’m one of the thousands–millions?–of adults who don’t get along all that well with dairy.)

My usual recipe for holiday eggnog involves cutting it about 50-50 with milk, to cut both the calories and the richness. Real adventurous, right? It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I had the opportunity to taste homemade, fully loaded eggnog that was so thick you could eat it like dessert. And as much as my arteries may clog just thinking about it, I would love some right about now.

This will probably be the year that I make my own, should the occasion arise (and there are worse reasons to throw a party than to try out a recipe, no?) and this is the recipe I would most likely use:

Cooked Eggnog
about 18 servings

Lightly cooking this eggnog kills any possibly dangerous bacteria in the eggs. Two tablespoons of vanilla can replace the spirits. Do not double this recipe.

Combine and set aside:
1 c milk
1 c heavy cream

Whisk until just blended:
12 large egg yolks
1 1/3 c sugar
1 tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg

Whisk in:
2 c milk
2 c heavy cream

Transfer the mixture to a large, heavy saucepan and place over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes a little thicker than heavy cream (about 175 degrees F). Do not overheat, or mixture will curdle. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the reserved milk and cream. Pour through a strainer into a storage container. Chill thoroughly, uncovered, then stir in:

1 1/2 c brandy, Cognac, dark rum, or bourbon
Freshly grated or ground nutmeg

from Joy of Cooking

I like this version because it is a touch safer for anyone who might want to drink it. Even though the chances, these days, of salmonella poisoning from consuming raw eggs is much lower than it used to be, it’s still not a good idea for kids, the elderly or anyone with a compromised immune system to consume them. If you’re really concerned about the mixture curdling you can cook the ‘nog in a double boiler. It’s a lot like making a cream anglaise sauce that you would use for dessert and that’s how we did it at the Plantation.

Which makes me wonder: how awesome would the eggnog be with a scraped vanilla bean added?

(Sips & Shots, a weekly cocktail feature, is currently working it’s way through an alphabet of alcohol–an Alphahol, if you will; entries for ‘a’ through ‘d’ can be found at the main Cocktail Hour webcomic site.)

Jennifer Walker
Jennifer Walker

  1. We’re in the same camp, and I’m suddenly ready for Christmas! This recipe looks like a perfect reason to make up a batch of meringues, too. You wouldn’t want to miss out on all those egg whites… Thanks for sharing!

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