When one thinks about Christmas, they think about the foods and drinks they will consume during the Holidays. Usually, eggnog is included in the daydream sequence. While not everyone is into the rich eggy drink, those who are have probably figured out how to make they're very own at home with a recipe. If you haven't yet, read on.

How it came to be

It's believed that eggnog started as a derivative for posset--another creamy drink--and things got rolling once someone decided to add eggs to it for enrichment. The recipe consists of curdled milk, light cream, egg yolks, sugar, nutmeg, vanilla, and sometimes whipped egg whites and sometimes alcohol like bourbon (both are optional).

The pros of eggs

Now from the looks of it, eggnog seems like it's just a boiled custard given they both share ingredients and methods of preparation. That is correct but eggnog isn't always acknowledged as such.

Compared to custard, eggnog is pretty rich to the taste. This is mostly because of the eggs. The yolks not only thicken it but also help give it a stronger taste. On the flip side, the whites lighten eggnog, making for quite the fluffy drink. Hence, the more yolks, the thicker and richer it gets. The more whites, the lighter and fluffier it gets.

The cons of eggs

As hinted before, not everyone is a fan of eggnog and one of the reasons is the inclusion of raw eggs in the recipe. Now, this can go two ways: Either they simply hate the taste of the eggs or they hate the thought of getting sick from the uncooked egg whites.

The last one is pretty serious as raw egg whites can cause Salmonella poisoning when used improperly. Fortunately, This can be avoided by either switching to pasteurized eggs for the recipe or reheating the drink to 71°C after everything is combined. Honestly, you don't need egg whites but if you desire them, the two options are mandatory.

Below is a tried and true recipe for eggnog. It ditches the milk + light cream combo for half-and-half which is a combination of the two. It also contains bourbon but like the egg whites, it's totally optional if you aren't into alcohol.

The recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs (pasteurized is preferred), separated
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup bourbon (optional)
  • Extra ground nutmeg for garnishing

Directions:

  1. Open the eggs and separate the yolks from the white using two bowls. Save the whites for later if desired or seal and chill for another recipe.
  2. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat together using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until pale and smooth.
  3. Combine the half-and-half, ground nutmeg, and vanilla extract into a saucepan. Bring to a boil on the stove on low heat. Optionally, you can add bourbon.
  4. Pour some of the hot milk/cream mixture into the yolk mixture and whisk together until fully combined.
  5. Pour the new mixture into the remaining milk/cream mixture in the saucepan and constantly stir it together using a wooden spoon until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. This is a custard. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches 71°C.
  6. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour and strain the custard through a fine-mesh strainer held over a bowl. Cover the bowl and let it cool for an hour.
  7. If using the egg whites, beat them in a bowl with the same electric mixer and attachment until it forms stiff peaks. Gradually fold the whipped whites into the custard per heaping portion using a wooden spoon. If whites aren't pasteurized, reheat the eggnog in a saucepan until it reaches 71°C.
  8. Divide the finished eggnog among six glasses and garnish them with ground nutmeg.

Serves: 6

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