I have fond memories of Christmas as a boy, of two bowls of eggnog — one bowl for the kids and a boozy bowl for the adults. I recall my Grandmother making adjustments, rum bottle in hand, to get the ratio just right. My mother and aunt tasting sips and stirring in a little more ‘till the women agreed, “Mmmm, that’s good”!
I loved this eggnog as a boy and a young adult. But as our family has spread out I haven’t tasted it in many years. Why is it that all commercially sold eggnog is awful slimy goo? You probably think, like most people I ask, that you don’t really like eggnog. If you have only had nog from a grocery store carton I can guess why. I believe it has to do with the guar, xanthan and carrageenan gums, the corn syrups, the artificial flavors and spoil retardant dairy, for starters. The following wholesomely rich and fresh eggnog recipe should change your relationship with eggnog, and may even create periodic yearnings for it and the magical way it tends to enhance a gathering of family and friends on special occasions.
Last week, I emailed my Mother and Aunt for eggnog help. To my surprise, I discovered that the ‘family recipe’ I had been craving was in fact from Joy of Cooking‘s ‘Eggnog in Quantity’ recipe, which is on the well egg white splattered Page 50 in my Aunt Carol’s 1971 printing! I keep the 1974 Joy of Cooking on my shelf at home (no American kitchen should be without one) and it holds the same recipe. I penciled in the same notations of guidance that Carol had added to her’s into my Joy of Cooking and have reproduced it here for your reference. I printed it out and kept it handy as I made the nog, making my own slight alterations to accommodate guest preferences.
Last week we were invited to stay with friends at the historic ‘Red House’ in Goldendale, Washington. The simple charm of the 1891 home lent inspiration to our Sunday Holiday feast of a spatchcocked herbed roast turkey, brussels sprouts with ham, roasted fingerling sweet potato and delicata squash with shallot garlic butter, ‘pure essence’ of turkey reduction sauce, ginger orange cranberry sauce, and an almond meal crusted sweet potato pie. And to make the merriment complete, Eggnog!
As written, this eggnog recipe will yield a decadently rich and fluffy whipped beverage akin to a velvety ice cream milk shake. If you prefer a lighter version, half cream and half milk may be substituted for the cream but will have a less fluffy consistency. Our family recipe only used dark rum and peach brandy. The rye and vanilla were whimsically added. Feel free to explore your own alcohol based blend to suit your taste. I imagine you could scale down the recipe for a smaller quantity, but you may regret it later. To make a non-alcoholic version substitute milk and perhaps more vanilla for the liquor. A thick glass punch bowl that will both hold it’s chill and the full gallon of nog is an ideal serving and preparation vessel. We were fortunate to find a full set with cups at a local thrift store for 9 dollars.
Eggnog Joy in Quantity Recipe
yields one gallon or 16, 8oz servings (or 8,16oz servings!)
preparation time: 4 1/2 hours
1 dozen fresh high quality chicken eggs
3 cups baker’s sugar (very fine granulated sugar)
1/2 cup raw honey
4 cups dark spiced rum (like The Kraken)
1 cup rye whiskey (like Bulleit)
1 cup peach flavored brandy
2 quarts light whipping cream (refrigerated cold)
1 tablespoon of vanilla
fresh grated nutmeg
Carefully separate all eggs, 12 yokes into a mixing bowl and 10 whites (all stringy white bits removed) reserved in a covered bowl. Set the whites aside to slowly come to a cool room temperature (~65F). The remaining whites will not be used in this recipe. With the help of an electric beater, beat the yokes until they turn a much lighter shade of yellow. This takes about 5 minutes of beating. Pour in the baker’s sugar and beat until well assimilated. Measure out 2 cups of liquors and slowly drizzle it into the yoke mix while continuously beating to make a homogenous evenly colored creamy liquid. Pour this yoke mixture into your serving bowl and place covered into the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Next, it will be helpful to have an assistant to drizzle in very slowly, first the cream, then the remaining liquors and vanilla into the yolk mixture while you continuously beat, at high speed. Lavish some time on the beating until all is lightly fluffy and evenly colored throughout. Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for 3 or more hours.
When it’s time to serve the nog, beat your reserved egg whites just until they are stiff but still glossy looking. Starting beating at low speed and gradually increasing to high will coax more air into the whites. Fold the whites into the nog using one or two spatulas, lifting from the bottom and turning the whites gently into the liquid. I found this took considerable time to assimilate the whites fully, but it did happen with patience. Once your cloudy delight is finished, wipe the edges of the bowl clean with a towel for a tidy presentation. Using a fine grater or micro-plane give a generous dusting of fresh nutmeg! Share and enjoy the pure and absolute decadence you’ve created!
I can say from my experience that this will keep at least three days in the refrigerator without loosing any of its sublime quality.
Here’s wishing you a very merry Christmas, blessed Winter Holidays, and a happy New Year! Cheers!