We are most certainly serving eggnog at the bar, but here are two recipes for you to make at home.
Eggnog is a very old and traditional drink. It used to be imbibed in all cold weather, and my mother used to make us eggnog as a restorative when we were sick. Today, it's mostly served around he holidays. There are more iterations of real eggnog than I can count. All of them are better than that crap you buy in the store. And yes, with significant doctoring and a goodly amount of bourbon, that stuff can be rendered palatable, but why not just start with the good stuff.
The first distinction to make is between an à la minute eggnog or one made in advance. To me the most elegant and decadent eggnog is one made on the stove in a batch and chilled. My grandmother's recipe for such a classic is below. There is nothing like the texture of a cooked eggnog, but there are good recipes for to-order nogging.
Here is a down and dirty (yet traditional) eggnog that you can make in individual portions and to-order. We found references to this particular Eggnog in a 1957 Esquire and in a different Maryland cookbook from 1932. We even saw a modern mutation swaps the Madeira (called for in the original recipe) for Peach Schnapps (DON'T DO THAT).
- ½ oz. 15yr Malmsey Madeira (you can find a brand called Blandy's in any good wine store, including ours)
- ½ oz. Hennessy VS
- ½ oz. Aged Rum (El Dorado 8 year is our favorite)
- 1 oz. Heavy Cream
- 1 oz. Whole Milk
- 2 Bar spoons: Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Egg Yolk (no white)
- Combine ingredients and shake with ice; strain off ice into small glass.
- Grate Cinnamon and Nutmeg on top
My Grandmother's Eggnog
It must be made in advance and then chilled.
You can keep it in the fridge and pour individual glasses at will. Spike or don't spike at the last minute. Always grate fresh nutmeg right before serving.
You can also set it out in a punch bowl at a party. Grate cinnamon and nutmeg over the bowl. We usually put a glass bowl inside another bowl full of ice and water to keep it cold. You can either spike the punch bowl or leave the bowl un-spiked and leave various bottles around so people can spike it how they like.
This nog works with almost any spirit: Spiced rum is great (try El Dorado), Irish Whiskey like Tullamore Dew (what I grew up on), Bourbon and Brandy are also classic and, believe it or not, Mezcal works an amazing Feliz Navidad if José Feliciano is on the radio.
For The Custard
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 cups whole milk (scalded - That just means boil the milk for a minute)
- Cinnamon Stick is optional.
For The Whites
- 3 egg whites
- 1/8 tsp salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean in custard overnight)
Make The Custard:
- Beat ½ cup sugar into egg yolks
- Add ¼ tsp salt and stir in milk slowly
- Add Cinnamon Stick
- Cook in double boiler, stirring constantly, until mixture coats spoon.
- Add vanilla beans if using beans at this point. Steep overnight is best.
- Cool completely
Beat The Whites:
- Add 1/8 tsp salt to egg whites and beat stiff
- Add ¼ cup sugar and beat well
Finish and Chill:
- Add whites to custard with vanilla extract if not using beans.
- Mix thoroughly and chill (Four Hours in Refrigerator).
- Spike as desired - see above.