I was recently at a small Christmas gathering where the host served warm cocktails and homemade eggnog. Everyone was raving about the creamy, traditional nog so I tried a small glass and couldn't help but think that the carton I'd bought at the store was better. Sure, I doctor it up with a little fresh nutmeg and rum or brandy, but still, the store-bought version was smoother and had more nuanced, subtle flavors than this homemade version, which tasted quite eggy to me. So I wonder: is homemade eggnog worth the effort? Recently The New York Times featured an article called Eggnog the Hard Way. In it writer Rosie Schaap discusses her personal theory with eggnog: go all the way or go home. She finds storebought nog perfectly delicious but can't trust herself with a whole carton laying around the house, so she's taken to making a "hard nog" which is essentially a baked custard strained into an eggnog, but without the raw eggs.
I don't fall into the camp that's squeamish about homemade eggnog because of the raw eggs. (I eat raw eggs in other things this time of year, from cocktails to homemade mayonnaise.) But I will say that I'm just not certain it's worth the effort when so many local dairies make such a great product to begin with. And then there's the Hard Nog, and while I'm sure it's delicious, it just makes things even more complex.
So what's a nog-lover to do this time of year? Tell me your thoughts.
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
Read more from Megan »