Family and friends sit around a cozy fire enjoying a creamy white yuletide draft. It’s Christmas and time once again for that holiday favorite – eggnog.
More of a pre-dinner dessert, eggnog is a much anticipated holiday libation. This frothy concoction is traditionally made by blending fluffy whipped eggs with rich heavy cream, spices and brandy or whisky. The warming spices (cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg) in eggnog make it a perfect wintertime cocktail to share with loved ones.
The origins of the name eggnog are a bit murky. It is said to have originated from a hot English drink called posset, made from eggs, milk, and wine or ale. Another perceived foundation of the word eggnog comes from nog, an Old World term for a strong and robust beer, although some believe eggnog literally means “egg inside a small cup”. The true origin of eggnog may never be known, but the tradition will live on for years to come.
Eggs are typically a symbol of life and good health in many cultures that have similar versions of American eggnog. In Puerto Rico coquito is sipped on holidays. Rum is the spirit of choice and coconut milk is the base (this is healthier alternative to American eggnog). Mexican eggnog is called rompope and made with plenty of cinnamon and rum or grain alcohol; German eggnog is actually a soup made with beer called biersuppe.
This frothy concoction is traditionally made by blending fluffy whipped eggs with rich heavy cream, spices and brandy
Creamy and thick, eggnog is a holiday treat for those who celebrate Christmas, or even those who simply enjoy a sweet and tasty cocktail. A bit of a hodge-podge drink on the exterior, “the nog” can actually be quite complex in flavor. Egg yolks and cream make for the richness while the egg whites add a lightness level that allows for multiple cups to be consumed. The spices are what let drinkers know it is the beloved holiday season they have been waiting all year for. A rich alcoholic custard is easy to resist when it comes from a grocery store carton however, like most culinary treats, it all starts with the ingredients and eggnog can be truly enjoyable when good quality products are utilized.
• 6 eggs, separated (try local eggs, it makes a difference)
• ½ cup light brown sugar
• 2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
• 2 tsp good quality almond extract
• ¼ tsp. kosher salt
• 2 cups whole milk (Hudson Valley Fresh products are perfect for this and the heavy cream)
• ½ cup bourbon
• 2 cups heavy cream
• ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
• ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp. ground allspice
In a double boiler (a pot of water filled, half way with a heat-resistant bowl on top but not touching the water). Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla and almond extracts until pale yellow, thick, and creamy. Remove from heat.
Whisk in the bourbon and milk. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to serve. (The color will be a pale almond color because of the brown sugar)
When you are ready to serve the eggnog, whip the egg whites in one bowl and the heavy cream in another until they have both reached the stiff peak stage (when the whisk is turned upside-down the egg whites and cream should stick straight up into a “stiff peak”)
Rotate between cream and egg whites, carefully folding them in until just incorporated.
Pour into glasses and top with a bit more cinnamon, or even a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!