And there are those who wouldn’t dream of pairing brandy and bourbon, or some other familial combination of spirits thereof, with egg yolks and cream. Those that just plead yuk.
I have a number of friends that—luckily—fall into the former category. You can only have yourself a merry little Christmas for so long drinking so much eggnog on your own. I have one friend that fondly refers to it as the abominable nog beast. He also has uttered the phrase “I was in it for the nog.” You can probably see why we get along. I also have a dear friend that is making eggnog for her Christmas party this Saturday, despite the fact that she’s allergic to eggs. And I have yet another eggnog-loving friend who recently hosted a holiday party. Our e-mail conversation prior, about what I should bring, went something like this:
Subject: The Nog
I’ve thought about it. Do you mind if I bring eggnog instead of shrimp on Sunday? I realize we’ve just taken the healthy train way off the tracks, but tis the season to derail. Let me know …
Subject: Re: The Nog
Since one of my most absolute favorite things of all time is eggnog, I would love it if you brought some. Tis the season to derail, fa la la la la la la la la.
Some of her response was typed in all caps and the use of nine—yes nine—consecutive exclamation marks was employed. What can I say, eggnog is stuff Christmas anticipation is made of.
This is probably a good time to mention that this recipe is legendary in my family. My aunt makes it every year on Christmas Eve. And—bless her heart—she manages to use both low fat milk and low fat ice cream and somehow makes it work. Unfortunately, I don’t believe in low fat ice cream. You might as well tell me that Santa has started wearing Spanx. So technically this is her tradition, fattened up a bit.
What is particularly special about her recipe is that the egg yolks get cooked, which means you can enjoy thick, eggy nog without having to worry about anything that rhymes with “hail nutella.” So, if you happen to be quite taken with eggnog, I recommend you try this recipe. If you aren’t, well, best of luck to you.
I’m not saying I won’t be friends with someone that doesn’t like eggnog. I’m just saying I’m going to have to think about it.
Christmas Eve Eggnog
2 cups half and half
4 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean pod, split with seeds scraped out
12 large egg yolks
1 cup dark rum
1/2 cup brandy
1/2-3/4 cup bourbon
1 cup heavy cream
2-4 tbsp maple syrup, optional
Freshly grated nutmeg to preference
In a medium saucepan, combine half and half, whole milk, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds and pod and heat on low until mixture reaches a slow simmer. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl beat the egg yolks. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks a little bit (about 1/4 cup) at a time. Remove the vanilla bean pod. Once the egg yolks are warmed from the milk mixture, slowly add them to the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (the temperature should be just at 180 degrees). Pour the mixture through a sieve.
Let the mixture cool slightly. Add the rum, brandy, and 1/2 cup bourbon. Refrigerate overnight. Before you are ready to serve, lightly whip the cream and add it to the eggnog. (If the cream does not blend well into the eggnog, or if you've overmixed the cream, you can whip the entire mixture to smooth it out.) Taste and add more booze, if needed. At this point, you may also decide to sweeten the mixture up by whisking in a little maple syrup. Grate nutmeg generously on top.
Makes about 10 cups
-My aunt adds 2 cups low fat vanilla ice cream that she floats in the eggnog to keep it cold. Since I used whole milk, I didn't put the ice cream in and instead sweetened it with a bit more with maple syrup.
-At the end of the day I added a bit more booze than my aunt's recipe called for, as well as the vanilla and nutmeg. It's hard to leave a recipe alone.
-Gosling's black rum was as lovely here as it is in a dark and stormy.