It's that time of year again! Snow lightly blankets the ground while we all frantically run across town in a chicken-with-its-head-cut-off demeanor, looking for the perfect holiday trinkets to bestow upon our loved ones. After a long day of chaotic holiday shopping, there is no better way to decompress than by sitting in front of a toasty fire with a big'ol cup of that famous holiday stuff we have come to love; eggnog. So before we jump into the recipes I have prepared for you, lets talk a little about the history of this famously traditional drink.

Eggnog

Alright, here we go. So, there have been multiple debates on where this drink actually came from but there is a general consensus that eggnog's birthplace was in Britain. A really long time ago. Like, pre-colonization before we hopped the pond long time ago. Now that we know this, it makes sense why eggnog is such a popular drink in the United States and Canada because, when the British actually made the leap across the Atlantic to start colonizing the Americas, they brought this wonderful drink along with them! Eggnog was not always strictly a holiday drink. In fact, before it became such a festive beverage, it could be obtained on a daily basis as a social drink, like most wines, spirits, and ales. It could and can be served in multiple ways with various alcohols such as brandy, rum, or sherry. Or, all three if you're feeling like bare knuckle boxing champion Brad Pitt in Snatch, and feel like taking a few punches straight to the dome. Garnish your noble drink with fresh cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spice and perhaps a bit of ground ginger to really top it off. Don't feel like drinking it straight? This dairy based delicacy can be added as a flavoring in coffee or tea and can be used as a base for yummy foods like ice cream, cakes, and French toast. Now that we've covered the basics, lets talk about how the name eggnog came to fruition.

When eggnog was still in its infancy over in Europe, it was traditionally made with sherry or brandy. Rum came into the picture when the drink was introduced in colonial America. A rum-like spirit called "grog" was mixed into the whipped dairy, egg and sugar mixture. This might give you an idea as to why they call it eggnog. For example, "Hey, could I have some egg and grog?" Egg and grog... eggnog... you get the idea. Another interesting indicator for the origins of the name eggnog is that it was served in a wooden cup called a "noggin". So, "Hey could I have some egg and grog in a noggin, please?" A tongue twister and a mouthful to say the very least thus, it appears the name was happily shortened to "eggnog".

There you have it. A brief history of a weird, yet tasty drink! Asleep? Wake up. It's time to move on to recipes! Now, I must warn you. If you do decide to make eggnog from scratch, please keep in mind that the consumption of raw eggs can be dangerous! If you are uncomfortable with this information please use pre-made (but still non-alcoholic) eggnog. What's the fun in buying a mixed drink where all of the work has already been done?

 

Homemade eggnog:

The list:

-Four egg yolks

-Four egg whites

-1/3 cup white sugar

-An entire pint of whole milk

-One cup of heavy whipping cream

-Roughly 3 ounces of bourbon or a spiced rum  (maybe the more adventurous would enjoy 4oz)

-Freshly ground nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom (green) to taste (around 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of each depending on personal preference- 1/2 a teaspoon of cardamom) 

-1/2 tablespoon of freshly ground ginger

The how to:

In a mixer, add the egg yolks and beat until they become lighter in color. At this point, slowly add the 1/3 cup of sugar until it is mixed evenly. Then, slowly add the milk, cream, bourbon or rum (you decide), and the spices. Stir until well mixed and then set this part of the mixture aside for a hot minute. Now, put the four egg whites you have in a mixing bowl and beat until soft peaks appear (it should look kind of like droopy whipped cream). This can be done by hand with a whisk or with an electric beater. I would say electric is the way to go; if you do it by hand, you will have serious muscles at the end of this process, buckle up. When you see soft peaks forming, slowly add about a tablespoon of sugar into the mixture. The peaks should stiffen and the mixture will look more and more like whipped cream. Finally, lightly fold the whipped egg whites into the yolk, bourbon/rum, sugar and spice mixture and stick that thing in your refrigerator. Serve chilled and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!!

(There are cooked-eggnog recipes you can find online if you have your heart set on making eggnog from scratch but don't want to worry about consuming raw egg)

 

For a pre-mixed version of this yummy drink:

Buy a premixed eggnog-this is a subjective choice based on individual tastes but it should NOT have alcohol in it. 

Essentially after this, just follow the steps above (minus the whipped egg, milk, and cream part because this has already been done for you) and mix the fresh spices into the premixed eggnog along with your choice of bourbon or rum. (If you're going to use rum, I personally think spiced rum adds a little extra pizzazz to the drink) And last but not least, taste the mixture to see if a bit more sugar (maybe a tablespoon) is needed to really bring everything together. Pop it in the refrigerator for a bit and serve chilled topped with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick! Yum!

Important- some premixed eggnogs already have cinnamon and other spices added into them. Taste the mixture you buy FIRST before adding full teaspoons of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, etc. into it. This will help avert the crisis of spicing the daylights out of your eggnog.

 

I hope this has been entertaining as well as informative! I will be posting new recipes and ideas every Thursday!

Happy Holidays!

Dani Austin