In case you’re not from the Northeast or watching the news, let me tell you, it’s been SNOWY here in Boston… I’m talking, we’ve received the “most snow in one week in over 100 years” type of snow! I feel like I am in the minority when I say that I LOVE winter, especially big snow storms. I’ve been waiting all season, and the snow has finally arrived! Given the blistery cold, I feel like it’s time for me to share my take on one of the most beloved winter cocktails: Egg Nog. Most people associate it with Christmas, but at my home, egg nog season keeps going until the snow stops.
Today I am going to share with you my special recipe for luxurious, thick, rich and creamy egg nog. It is light years better than anything you can buy in the store. For this version, I used three liquors: rum, brandy, and bourbon. Dieters, be forewarned: I also use a combination of whole milk, heavy cream, and half and half. It may not be the healthiest version, but it is certainly worth a splurge!
True egg nog has a fixed set of ingredients: raw eggs, sugar, milk and/or cream, spices, and a spirit. In my recipe, I chose to layer different spirits– brandy, rum, and bourbon to be specific. However, feel free to experiment with different liquors in your egg nog– it’s a very versatile base drink. I think a fun idea would be to make the egg nog recipe below without adding the alcohol, and then serve each individual glass with a different spirit to figure out which version you like best. I’d recommend 1 oz of liquor per glass, but again, this is flexible based on taste/preference. I personally think brandy complements the rich cream and nutmeg flavors best.
As a word of warning, this recipe uses raw eggs. I have never had a problem in terms of food safety, but it is a valid concern. If you are worried about the risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness, you can use pasteurized eggs (available at high-end grocery stores like Whole Foods) or briefly heat the eggs on the stove top to kill any unwanted bacteria. Additionally, I recommend that you only use fresh, clean grade A/AA eggs that have intact shells and have been properly refrigerated. Also, avoid contact between the egg yolk/whites and the shell.
If you choose to cook your egg nog, heat the milk, heavy cream, and half n’ half gently on the stove top, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, beat together 1/3 cup sugar and the egg yolks. Once the milk mixture begins to bubble, remove from heat and gently pour it into the egg/sugar mixture, making sure to stir constantly. It’s important to stir while pouring to prevent the eggs from cooking instead of becoming incorporated into the hot milk mixture. Once the two mixtures are well combined, return everything to the saucepan. Heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Be careful not to let the mixture boil. Remove from heat, add in the spirits, and allow to chill. Continue with the second paragraph of the recipe below.
Hilary’s Homemade Egg Nog
Makes approximately 4 servings
-3 eggs (separated into yolks and whites)
-1/3 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
-1 oz dark or gold rum
-1 oz bourbon
-2 oz brandy
-1/2 cup milk
-1/2 cup half n’ half
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-Nutmeg, as garnish
-Cinnamon stick, as garnish
Whisk together egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, rum, bourbon, and brandy. Once well mixed, add in the milk, half ‘n half, and heavy cream. Whisk vigorously until creamy.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add 1 tsp sugar and continue beating until firm peaks form. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the alcohol/milk component. Top with nutmeg and cinnamon stick (optional).