Making eggnog from scratch may appear to be a daunting task. But this creamy libation makes for the perfect holiday treat and it’s not as hard to prepare as one might think! So, grab a mug and help yourself to a ladle or two. You won’t regret it.
Growing up Jewish, I didn’t get to experience many Christmas traditions. There were the few I witnessed in school, and I got to hear a lot about the festivities from my peers, but I didn’t have the firsthand experience.
The one (and only) time I tasted eggnog was when I was in my twenties. Someone brought it to a work function…they opened the carton, poured it into a punch bowl, spiked it with a bit of bourbon and gave it a stir. I took a sip and immediately spit it out. This is what everyone fussed over? Spiced, boozy milk?
Due to my experience (or, I guess, my lack of experience) with eggnog, I was a bit skeptical about making it for The Boys’ Club. But then I thought maybe, just maybe, it would be better homemade. And I’m pleased to report, after having made it from scratch, homemade eggnog is a significant improvement from the store-bought variety.
What the heck is eggnog? Are there huge hunks of scrambled eggs in it?
Oh goodness… no. Thankfully, you won’t find pieces of egg floating in this scrumptious holiday beverage (well, at least there shouldn’t be). Eggnog is actually a combination of whisked eggs, milk, heavy cream and sugar… and we can’t forget about the booze (typically bourbon, whiskey or rum). So, as you can expect from something consisting of such ingredients, it is heavenly.
What’s the story behind eggnog?
This one is a bit complicated. Let’s start with the word itself…eggnog. It is thought that it stems from the word noggin, a Middle English term for a small mug or cup used specifically for alcoholic beverages. The origins of eggnog are up for debate, but many believe it came from the Medieval Posset, a warm drink of milk curdled with ale or wine and then spiced. At some point during this time, egg was added. Due to the cost of ingredients, eggnog was consumed only by the wealthy.
Apparently George Washington, one of our Founding Fathers and the first President of the United States, was a huge fan of the beverage, and he developed his own recipe, which looks to be pretty strong. It is not the one we provide below, but I thought it’d be fun to share his version:
“One quart cream, one quart milk, one dozen tablespoons sugar, one pint brandy, 1/2 pint rye whiskey, 1/2 pint Jamaica rum, 1/4 pint sherry, eggs—mix liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.”
The fact is that eggnog doesn’t seem to have Christmas origins. It is consumed during festive times, and, traditionally, it is prepared during winter months (I can’t quite see drinking this on a blazing summer day). There’s nothing that sounds more wonderful than sipping on eggnog while sitting by a fire on a chilly December night, gathered with family and friends.
Note: There is a risk of salmonella and other food-borne illnesses when consuming uncooked eggs. It is recommended that when preparing this recipe, you use grade A or AA eggs that have been refrigerated.
Yield: 4 servings
1/3 cup (78 ml) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
1. Beat the egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer for approximately one minute, or until they lighten in color. Slowly mix in the sugar and continue to mix until dissolved.
2. Slowly pour in the milk and cream. Add the bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine. Transfer mixture to a large serving bowl.
3. Clean out the bowl of the stand mixer.
4. Beat the egg whites in the bowl of the stand mixer until soft peaks form. While the mixer is still on, slowly add another tablespoon of sugar and beat to form stiff peaks.
5. Add the egg whites to the cream mixture and whisk to combine.
6. Serve in glass mugs with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg on top.
Brian Samuels is Managing Editor at The Boys Club and blogger at A Thought For Food.