I love nothing more at Christmas than sitting down in front of a roaring fire, Christmas lights twinkling on the tree and a glass of eggnog in hand. Most of my family has always outlawed “real” eggnog, you know, the kind you make at home and lace heavily with bourbon or brandy. It wasn’t so much the booze as it was the “raw eggs will kill you” speech I received every year. I wanted nothing more than to live out my fantasy of whipping up a bunch of eggs, milk, cream, and spices into a heady milk concoction mean to test even the least lactose intolerant persons digestive system.
That changed after I had a home of my own, a husband with a stomach made of cast iron, and learned how to pasteurize eggs. I’ve been through a lot of egg nog recipes, and my favorite that I’ve made every year since meeting my friend Amy of Bonta Toscana food is the recipe from the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas. This recipe is balanced, perfect with, or without, your favorite libation and always a party pleaser.
Eggnog is technically a stirred custard. You could add it into an ice cream maker if it’s sans booze. Alcohol won’t allow freezing of the mixture. Many culinary anthropologists believe eggnog descended from posset. This late-medieval concoction was composed of hot milk and booze and enhanced with the spices on hand. Samuel Peyp’s used to have an annual “Stone Feast” every year and this drink was on the menu in 1663.
My eggnog is made and in the fridge, as I like it aged. (Thank you, Alton Brown.) I make sure that what I have on hand for me and my husband is 40% alcohol to help prevent any gastrointestinal issues. That being said, don’t serve it to any one with a compromised immune system or elderly unless you’ve used shell pasteurized eggs. (You can find these in the grocery store.)
- 6 cups milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 12 pasteurized egg yolks
- 2 cups sugar
- Praline liqueur, brandy or bourbon (optional)
- Freshly ground nutmeg
- Cook milk, heavy cream, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes or until steaming (about 150°).
- Reduce heat to low. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a large saucepan until smooth.
- Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture reaches at least 160° (about 25 minutes).
- Whisk milk mixture into egg mixture.
- Cool 30 minutes; transfer to a pitcher.
- Cover and chill 3 to 24 hours.
- Pour desired amount of praline liqueur, brandy or bourbon into each glass, if desired.
- Top with eggnog. Sprinkle with freshly ground nutmeg.