Thoughts on Eggnog (and How to Make It)

Ah, eggnog. It’s the flavor of childhood Christmases: a taste of tradition as sweet as candy canes, caroling, and crackling fires. The appearance of those distinctive cartons in supermarket coolers says the festive season has begun.

Whether you love it or hate it, eggnog has become a quintessential part of American holiday celebrations (George Washington even recorded his own recipe). But this unique egg-based drink is even older than our country, originating in the medieval monasteries of 13th-century Britain.

Eggnog began as a popular hot drink called a posset — a milky brew monks combined with eggs and figs. Eggs, milk, and flavoring spices like nutmeg were luxury items, putting eggnog out of reach for the ordinary man. But when immigrant settlers came to the Americas, they found plentiful cheap supplies, and eggnog was born as a drink of the people. 

Indeed, it was so popular that the drink famously incited the so-called Eggnog Riot of 1826.

Today, you can keep your icebox stocked with eggnog from your local store. But given the FDA permits the drink to be made with as little as 1 percent egg yolk, you’re more likely than not drinking “milknog.” Nothing compares to the rich, creamy, frothy deliciousness of homemade — and it’s far easier to whip up a batch than you think.

If you do use raw egg, make sure you pick out fresh ones (pasteurized for safety). Keep your eggnog refrigerated and consume on the day you make it. If you’re still not comfortable, you can gently cook the yolks using the method at the bottom of this page.

Try our simple recipe for a delicious winter warmer, suitable for all ages. Cheers!

Photography by Catherine Downes

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla bean paste (optional)
  • Sprinkle of nutmeg, cinnamon, and other spices

Method:

1. Separate the eggs, setting the whites to one side.

2. Whisk the yolks with the sugar until emulsified: The mixture will be primrose yellow and frothy.

3. Whisk the milk and heavy cream into the yolk-and-sugar mixture. Stir in the salt and vanilla bean paste if using. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

4. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

5. When ready to serve, gently fold the whisked egg whites into the eggnog using a metal spoon and a gentle touch. Ladle into a punch bowl or jug to serve.

6. Lay out a range of garnishes for people to help themselves — freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon are a must, but chocolate shavings also go down a treat with kids.

Pair with a plate of Christmas cookies, or substitute hot cocoa and marshmallows for the kiddos.

© 2018 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance