1- Due to FDA regulations, the eggnog at the supermarket only has to contain 1% egg solids in order to have the name ‘Eggnog’ on the label. That means, if you really want something closer to the real thing, you better read the label. Otherwise, you’re basically drinking spiced cream. Yum! FYI: People who claim to know a thing or two about eggnog say that if you want the good stuff, you have to make it yourself! (Classic recipe included below!)
2- Originally, eggnog was mainly enjoyed by English aristocracy. All the normal folks, if they could afford milk and eggs, had to use them for surviving, not for a frivolous holiday drink. However, in the farmlands of the colonies, eggs and milk were abundant. Many colonists took great pleasure taking part in what, on the other side of the Atlantic, was only for the rich! Pinkies up!
3- Though alcohol, usually rum or whiskey, is added to make eggnog more festive, in a historical sense, the added alcohol wasn’t just for getting loose at the office Christmas party. Eggnog has been around way longer than refrigerators. One way to keep this eggy concoction from spoiling and giving everyone food poisoning was to put a healthy dose of alcohol into the batch! Many recipes call for up to 20% booze! George Washington’s recipe actually calls for three types of alcohol. My personal take: Folks only made this stuff in the winter so it could be plenty refrigerated outdoors. The necessary booze to keep it from spoiling was just an excuse for people who loved to party to get shitfaced on a festive drink!
4- The name ‘Eggnog’ can’t be figured out. There are many ideas, but even the professional etymologists can’t get this one straight! Some say that ‘nog’ comes from the word ‘noggin,’ which comes from Middle English and means a wooden drinking mug. Another idea for ‘nog’ comes from the slang term for rum was ‘grog.’ Egg-and-Grog shortened into eggnog. ‘Nog’ was also the name for a strong beer brewed in England and because of the alcohol content, the name carried over into the eggy, spiced concoction we know today. Yet another idea is the Scottish word ‘nugg,’ which is ale warmed with a hot poker. Though none of these histories can be proven, any way about it, eggnog has to do with drinking, and it tastes like it sounds!
5- Why do we drink this stuff around Christmas? Thick cream, egg, spices and booze are a winter thing! Try to imagine a mugfull at a baseball game or a 4th of July barbeque. Sick!
Prep time: 6 mins
Total time: 6 mins
Serves/Yield: 1 1/2 quart
- 5 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/4 cups good quality bourbon or whiskey
- 1/4 cup spiced rum
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg plus more for garnish
- Whisk yolks with sugar until creamy and sugar begins to dissolve.
- Add cream, milk, bourbon and rum and stir to combine.
- Stir in nutmeg and vanilla and chill well.
- Serve chilled on the rocks with a sprinkle of nutmeg if desired.
Variation 1: Include the egg whites
I don’t use the egg whites, but it is the traditional way. To use the whites, reserve 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat egg whites to soft peaks and then beat in sugar until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, beat 1/2 cup heavy cream. Fold egg whites into cream and serve on top of eggnog with a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Variation 2: Cook the eggs
Making a danger-free eggnog is pretty easy too. Simply follow the same recipe above, but leave out the alcohol and mix only half the milk and cream into the blend, then heat the mixture in a glass or metal bowl over a pot of simmering water for about five or six minutes. Be sure to stir constantly. Refrigerate until well chilled.
When ready to serve, simply stir in the remaining cream and milk, as well as the bourbon and rum.
Variation 3: Virgin Eggnog
Follow the recipe as directed, omitting the alcohol and adding an extra 3/4 cup of whole milk, 3/4 cup of cream and 1-2 tablespoons of rum extract to the mix. Chill and serve.