Eggnog

[I considered many a silly title for this post, but in the end I think “Eggnog” is strong enough to stand on its own.  Eggnog.  So it goes.]

[UPDATED: I tried a slightly different variation on this recipe.  You can see the review here.  I’ll keep trying alternatives through Christmas most likely, so keep checking back for more.]

I’ve been an eggnog junky for years.  Every time we near the Christmas season my mom starts stocking liters of it to have on hand when we all come home.  I could drink it by the gallon, if it weren’t…well, if it wouldn’t kill me.

The vast majority of the eggnog I’ve consumed over the years has been the store bought variety.  While I’ve enjoyed a lot of the brands, they are all too thick to consume more than one or two glasses a day (or weekend for that matter), and I never have success mixing them with booze without the end product being almost undrinkably strong (and I like strong), regardless of how much I add to the concoction.

The homemade stuff, on the other hand, I’ve only had a few times.  Two times in particular stand out in my mind.  The first batch I tried was made by a work acquaintance back in my landscaping days.  He showed up to the job site, the floor of his truck cab covered in gallon bottles of his homemade eggnog, a jolly fat man bringing joy to us cold landscapers.  It was excellent stuff.

The second memory of homemade eggnog was my first attempt at making it myself.  It turned out…ok.  We made a huge vat of it, and home pasteurized it by heating the whole thing up to 160 degrees. Unfortunately, doing so left it with just a hint of hard-boiled egg flavor.  Now I’m no Christmas expert, but I don’t recall eggnog having hard-boiled undertones.

That was years ago.  Frankly, I wasn’t half the cooking or booze enthusiast then that I am now.  More importantly, my internet research skills were nothing then compared to what they are today.  After all, this was in the dark ages before Pinterest.

That all changed a few days ago, when an e-friend of mine recommended I try a certain recipe for eggnog, and I knew that after years of disappointment my search was over.  Despite having never met this guy in person, I trust his judgment.  Spend five seconds on his blog and you’ll see what I mean.  Jordan knows his booze.

He sent me to the blog of Jeffrey Morganthaler, a rather experienced bartender in Portland.  It was there that I first saw the recipe for the best homemade eggnog I’ve ever had, tastier and yet lighter and easier to drink than any other I’ve tried.  Just unbelievably good.

And incredibly simple to make.

Ingredient List:

Eggs;

Whole, Fresh Nutmeg, Grated;

Sugar;

Rum (we used Sailor Jerry’s, but this works with a lot of spiced rums);

Brandy (we used a cheap brand, the French Raynal VSOP – no regrets);

Whole Milk; and

Heavy Cream.

What You’ll Need:

Blender or Stick Blender (we used the latter);

Measuring cups and spoons; and

A strong urge to consume copious amounts of fat and alcohol.

I’ll leave you to Jeffrey Morganthaler’s blog for the recipe and amounts (it’s his concoction).  The short of it is that you do nothing more than blend, chill and serve.  The truly patient among us can also leave it in the fridge for around three weeks or so (which is supposed to take its consistency and flavor through the roof), but there is zero chance this stuff lasts that long in my fridge without me drinking it.

A nice thing about his recipe is that it multiplies well.  He shows you the recipe for a very small batch (enough for about two decent sized cocktails).  I made two batches, one where I halved the recipe and another where I doubled it, and both times it turned out great.  People in the comments section said they multiplied it large enough for a work party and it still worked as good as a small batch.

I expect to be making this in very large quantities for my family this Christmas, so I’m pretty thankful it adjusts so well.

By the time I was done, Loren was ready for his own.  Since I wasn’t about to hand him my glass of raw eggs and hard liquor (I’m no dummy – his mom was standing right there), I grabbed the grater and let him shave some nutmeg into his milk.

He tipped up the Moomin cup and went to town.  Sometimes it’s the simple things…

Of course, seeing an eggnog recipe where you neither use pasteurized eggs, or pasteurize them yourself, I immediately began wondering about the risk of food poisoning from raw eggs.  So I went searching for a reliable answer.

Here, you can see an experiment where microbiologists check to see if the booze in eggnog is enough to kill off bacteria like salmonella.

Then read the more in-depth post regarding the safety details from an article reproduced by the Food Safety Project at Iowa State University:

[The personal risk of getting salmonella and thus contracting food poisoning from raw eggs is] about five one-thousandths of 1 percent.  […]

Fortunately, the alcohol in fortified eggnog helps protect against salmonella poisoning. Recent laboratory studies show that alcohol kills salmonella, a fact that has been corroborated in studies where the severity of a food poisoning outbreak was inversely correlated with alcohol intake. For people who ate the same contaminated foods, those who drank the most alcohol with the meal were least likely to come down with food poisoning.

Yeah, so make sure you use enough liquor in your recipe.  That’s just good life advice right there.  If you really feel the need to be extra safe, you can always buy pre-pasteurized eggs.  And I should note that people with potentially compromised immune systems (pregnant women, small children, the sick and elderly), should probably avoid raw, unpasteurized eggs, as the symptoms of food poisoning are far worse than that which is risked by the average person.

Otherwise, enjoy the Nog.  Be ready, these go down easy.  They’re simply amazing.

See also my review of a Bourbon and Spiced Rum Eggnog, and then an all-Bourbon Eggnog and Eggnog Round-up.

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14 comments

  1. Steve Davis

    Great news about food poisoning and alcohol consumption! This just justifies my having a drink with every meal. Now I can just chalk it up to fighting off food poisoning!

  2. Margaret @ SlowMama

    Yes! We’re big homemade ‘nog drinkers in my family, though we always looked the other way at the raw eggs part, so this is excellent news. Will have to try Morgenthaler’s recipe; my mom being from Kentucky, our family eggnog is a straight-up bourbon affair, but this sounds intriguing… Thanks!

  3. thebookofjimmy

    I think the next batch will feature bourbon (that’s my drink as well), perhaps a bourbon and rum split, we’ll see. Whenever I make a different batch I’ll do a quick update post. I have a feeling that over the next month there will be plenty of opportunities to try some variations.

  4. thebookofjimmy

    Excellent recommendation, as always. Morganthaler doesn’t post much, but I’ve got him in my google reader now so I can keep an eye on his cocktails as he puts them up.

  5. Marsha Blume

    Jimmy, this is such a delicious and fun recipe for eggnog. Would you like to do a guest post on my blog? We would love to have you. :)

  6. Pingback: The Book of Jimmy » Eggnog, Bourbon With Reservations
  7. Ashleigh Georgia

    Hi Jimmy,
    I have never had (let alone made!) egg nog, but I am motivated by your post. I’m going to try to make this tonight for my get together tomorrow. Will it be the end of the world if I use not-fresh nutmeg? I know, for shame. But still, what do you think? Wish me luck!

  8. thebookofjimmy

    I’m honored to lead you into the wonderful world of fatty holiday booze drinks!

    As a general rule, fresh spices and herbs are best. And really, there is no comparison. If you have to use bottled stuff, use a lot less of it than the recipe calls for. Nutmeg is a strong flavor and a little will still go a long way even if it isn’t fresh. The reason for using less of the not-fresh stuff, is that the flavor isn’t quite as good, so you might not want to feature it quite as much as the fresh version.

    It should still be good. At the very least, people might be too buzzed to much notice.

  9. Pingback: The Book of Jimmy » Homemade Eggnog Round-Up and All-Bourbon Batch Review

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