The holidays just aren’t complete without, at least, 1 batch of Egg Nog. I have had a love-hate relationship with the stuff over the years. As a kid I loved the stuff, but then somewhere along the line I lost my taste for it and wouldn’t be caught dead drinking it. But, in recent years, I’ve come to enjoy a glass or 2 during the holidays. It’s still not something that I could drink every day, but a few glasses, to celebrate the holidays is something I enjoy, especially if spiked with a bit of Bourbon or dark rum.

There are lots of recipes, and variations for Egg Nog. Some require cooking, some don’t, some add whipped egg whites to the mix while others forgo that step, and others still, are made with hefty amounts of alcohol and left to mature, in the back of fridge for, at least 3 or 4 weeks, before it is ready. I am a big fan of the aged stuff, but not everyone likes their Nog with so much alcohol and making it this way means the kiddies don’t get to partake so I prefer to make the non alcoholic stuff and allow people to spike their own.

Unless you buy your eggs from a local farmer and know that they were handled properly, I would suggest making cooked Egg Nog to ensure the safety of your guests. Nothing ruins the holidays like a bad case of food poisoning. Besides cooking your Egg Nog gives it a thicker, silky texture that you just don’t get from the uncooked.

While I highly suggest making your own Egg Nog, for some people the convenience of picking up some of the store-bought stuff is quite alluring. If you are so tempted, at least dilute the store-bought stuff with regular milk to cut both the sweetness and the thickness. I would suggest cutting it at a ratio of 2 parts Egg Nog to 1 part milk or even closer to a 1:1 ratio.

As far as spiking your Egg Nog, brandy would be the most traditional, but rum (both white and dark), and whiskey (in all its incarnations) make great choices. But don’t forget liqueurs also; Irish Cream, coffee liqueur, nut liqueurs, orange liqueur all work wonderfully in Egg Nog as well as many other varieties.

Egg Nog
10 1 cup servings

6 cups Milk, whole
2 cups Heavy Cream
2 each Cinnamon Sticks
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Nutmeg, ground + more for garnish
12 Egg Yolks
1 1/2 cups Sugar

Combine the milk, cream, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg in a sauce pot and bring to a low boil. Meanwhile whip the egg yolks with the vanilla and sugar until light, fluffy, and pale colored. Slowly add 2 cups of the milk mixture to the eggs, stirring constantly then pour the egg mixture into the remaining milk, in the sauce pot, again stirring constantly. Lower heat to medium low and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it thickens slightly and reaches 160°F (about 5 minutes). Strain and chill overnight, or, at least 4 hours.

To serve, add approximately 2-3 oz. of your choice of alcohol, to a cup and top with Egg Nog. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.