Most festive of holiday beverages


I broke down last week and bought a container of eggnog at the grocery store. Moreover, I bought a container of light eggnog because I felt like I should be mindful of my calories in the week leading up to Thanksgiving (which as we all know and don’t admit is a 4 day eating extravaganza).

In doing so, I broke two huge rules on my personal “Are You Nuts?” list, those being 1. It’s socially unacceptable to buy eggnog before Thanksgiving, and 2. High Fructose Corn Syrup is evil. The SECOND INGREDIENT on the back of the carton (which I didn’t read until I got home) is HFCS. I refuse to touch the stuff now, and have learned my lesson for trying to sneak one in on my own Don’t You Dare list.

Besides, grocery store eggnog is supremely sub-par if you’ve ever had the delight and pleasure of having homemade eggnog. Laced with nutmeg and spices and plenty of booze, there’s no way to celebrate the holiday weekend. Roaring fire and blustery weather make it even better. The addition of a snowstorm would make it just about perfect.

No snow here in the wine country, though we have some friends that are crazy enough to go camping this weekend. Camping. In November. In a tent. While this isn’t my ideal way to spend a 4 day weekend, visiting for an afternoon around their campfire and having snacks and laughs is a pretty close second. I’ll bring up a prewarmed Ultimate Turkey Sandwich (more on that later) and a double batch of Ultimate Eggnog.

My Aunt Nancy makes the Best with a Capital B eggnog ever, and while I used to have the recipe, it’s since been lost in one too many reorganizing missions of my recipe folder. This one though has all the makings of hers: raw eggs, plenty of hooch, and enough saturated fat to stop your heart. All of this is OK though, because this is a libation of which you’re only meant to have one (or one and a splash). If you’ve never had the distinct displeasure of drinking too many White Russians then I’ll warn you that one should be very careful when mixing dairy and hard alcohol. Enough said.

Now, if you’re worried about egg safety or just not so sure about raw eggs, I recommend using this recipe instead. It’s not worth taking risks and tempering eggs only takes another minute or two. For those of you lucky enough to have chickens or access to fresh eggs, this is the recipe to showcase them. The bright yellow of a fresh egg yolk adds a distinctly lovely color to this most festive of holiday beverages.

So, whip up a batch of nog this weekend to share with your friends and family. Please note that you should allow it to sit for at least 3 hours, I prefer to let it rest overnight before serving (or at least make it in the morning for that evening’s consumption). It allows the alcohol to temper a bit and all of the flavors to blend and mellow. If you’re used to a more substantial nog, whip your egg whites and your yolks separately, and fold the yolks back in just prior to serving.

The Ultimate Eggnog
From Epicurious

6 large eggs
3/4 cup vanilla sugar (no vanilla sugar? Sub in a teaspoon of good vanilla extract with the 3/4 cup of sugar)
1 quarts half and half (or light cream)
1 cup brandy
2 cups bourbon or dark rum
freshly grated nutmeg

In large bowl, beat eggs until pale yellow and slightly frothy. Add sugar and half and half, and stir until well blended. Add brandy and bourbon (or dark rum) and stir. Transfer to large pitcher and chill until cold, at least 3 hours. Divide between 6 punch cups, garnish each with sprinkle of nutmeg, and serve.

One response »

  1. we had some kooky friends camping this weekend as well! at the COAST! weirdos! anyhow, we felt very pleased to visit them and then say – well, so see ya – we are off to get some dinner an a nice cozy restaurant and then on to our warm house where we’ll sit in comfort in our sweats. have fun!
    Thanks for the email as well…good to see you last week and yes, we need a catch-up visit soon!

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