It’s Mixology Monday time again, this month hosted by Brenda at The Spirit World. Brenda chose the theme festive drinks for this iteration. Sounds great to me! Let’s get festive!
I chose a drink that I expect a few others will do this time as well: eggnog. And that’s okay, because it seems that just about everybody has a personal favorite recipe for eggnog, so I expect a lot of variation in ingredients and techniques.
And that’s okay, too, because I have a confession. I’m a nogn00b. Oh, I’ve had eggnog before, if you think that stuff you get at the grocery is eggnog. But I can’t recall ever having homemade nog, and this was my first attempt at making it from scratch. I’ll have fun reading what others have done and, I hope, picking up some tips on making a better nog.
(As an aside, there is a great New York State dairy, Ronnybrook Farm, that apparently makes a superb bottled eggnog. Although I’d love to try it at some point, I didn’t want to use their product for this MxMo entry. Where’s the challenge in that?)
So, on to the nog…
I heard from a friend that Alton Brown had done a nog episode for Good Eats, and since Alton has seldom steered me wrong, I decided his would be a good base recipe and a great introduction to eggnogs. One thing I like about Alton Brown is that his recipes are usually a good jumping-off point for experimentation. Once you have the basic flavors and techniques down, you can start to improvise.
I won’t reproduce his recipe here, but I will talk about his technique: He starts by separating four eggs, beating the yolks until they’re light and then adding sugar. He blends a mixture of milk, cream, bourbon, and nutmeg into the yolks. He whips up the whites separately, adds a bit of sugar, and then folds the dairy/yolk mixture into the whites. He chills this for at least an hour before serving.
Now, Alton’s recipe is light on the bourbon–just three ounces for that entire batch. (Brenda, on the other hand, uses twenty-four ounces of liquor in a nog that calls for six eggs. It’s interesting to compare their recipes: Alton’s a freakin’ lightweight.)
After I finished mixing it all up, but before chilling it, I pulled a bit aside for us to taste. Jen and I both loved this recipe, low-octane though it may be. The nog was fresh, creamy, rich, and delicious, with just a hint of bourbon.
A hint of booze, however, is not enough for this drink, so when I served it, I poured a couple ounces of dark rum into a glass, added the nog, and stirred. Next time I make this, I’ll very likely just add more booze from the start.
photograph by Jennifer Hess