I love eggnog — it’s a cherished childhood memory. I was told it was for “special occasions” only and although I often saw a carton in the refrigerator as a kid — I understood that it was “hands-off”. Now that I’m older and wiser (well, older anyway) I know that you can enjoy eggnog any time of the year. But something prevents me from buying any unless it’s during the Christmas holidays.
I wish I could boast that my family had an age-old eggnog recipe. The truth is I remember my mother making it by hand but at some point relinquished the habit, instead picking it up at Kroger’s Grocery Store.
So where did eggnog come from? Obviously from eggs, but lots of folks believe that eggnog is a tradition that was brought to America from Europe. This is may or may not be true. But I tend to believe it seeing as our culture originated in Europe. Eggnog has its roots in various milk and wine punches that had been concocted long ago in the “Old World”. However, in America a new twist was put on the theme: rum was used in the place of wine. In Colonial America, rum was commonly called “grog”, so the name eggnog is likely derived from the very descriptive term for this drink, “egg-and-grog“, which evolved into to egg’n’grog and then become eggnog.
I’m not sure if that’s the accepted version but that’s what I was told it sounds good enough to me.
I’ve also heard that the “nog” of eggnog comes from the word “noggin”. A noggin was a small, wooden, carved mug. It was used to serve drinks at table in taverns (while drinks beside the fire were served in tankards. So it is very easy to see how an egg drink in a noggin could become eggnog.
I admit — I’m more apt to buy eggnog than make it. But every now and then I crack open a few eggs with my daughter and get creative. If you are going to make eggnog by hand this holiday season keep safety in mind as well: Current estimates show that there is a 1 in 10,000 chance that the eggs in your nog could contain a harmful bacteria. To avoid the possibility of food poisoning the Center for Science in the Public Interest recommends that you slowly heat the eggs to 160 F before using. Another way to tell if the eggs are ready is if they coat a metal spoon. Here are some other safety tips:
– Be sure to handle and prepare these tasty treats safely. Commercial, ready-made eggnog is prepared using pasteurized eggs and does not require heating. Homemade eggnog may contain harmful bacteria if not prepared properly. Serve homemade eggnog using the directions below or use pasteurized egg products, found in most grocery stores.
– If you choose to make eggnog with whole eggs, heat the egg-milk mixture to at least 71°C (160°F). ). Refrigerate at promptly, once steaming stops, dividing large amounts into shallow containers so that it cools quickly. Precautions should also be taken with sauces, mousses, and any other recipes calling for raw or lightly-cooked eggs.
Eggnog made in dairies is usually pasteurized, which means that harmful bacteria have already been eliminated through a heating process. I have seen a lot of recipes for eggnog on the internet — nearly 900,000 last time I checked – which strikes me as odd because how many variations of eggs, milk, cream and cinnamon can you have? Be that as it may – here a few of my favorites. Add or subtract ingredients to taste – including liquor. And remember to drink responsibly.
1) 6 Large eggs
3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cups of Brandy
1/2 cup of Rum
4 cups of Milk
4 cups of Cream
1/2 cup of Icing sugar
Nutmeg to sprinkle on top
Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs. Beat the yolks slowly while at the same time adding the sugar; mix until the liquid becomes pale and golden. Slowly add the brandy and rum, and then beat in the milk and half the cream.
Set aside until just before serving, then whip the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the eggnog mixture. Whip the remaining cream and icing sugar until thick. Top each glass of eggnog with whipped cream and a shake of nutmeg. This yields eight servings.
2) 4 eggs
6 tablespoons sugar
5 1/2 cups fresh orange juice, chilled
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 quart vanilla ice cream
1 quart ginger ale, chilled
Beat the eggs and the sugar until light (no separation necessary here). Stir in the orange and the lemon juice. Place small scoops of ice cream in the punch bowl. Pour the ginger ale against the sides (inside, of course) of the bowl (this is done to preserve as much of the carbonation as possible). Add the orange juice picture slowly, stirring gently. Serve immediately. This will make about 30 servings.
3) 3 cups milk
1 3 oz package of French Vanilla Instant pudding
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
This is eggnog without eggs. In a large bowl, mix the pudding with 1 cup of the milk. When pudding is formed, add in the remaining ingredients and mix very well. Chill.
The Christmas holidays and eggnog. An age-old tradition that keeps getting better with time.