A fresh-tasting blend of cold milk, cream and eggs seasoned with sugar, vanilla and nutmeg and spiked with dark, rich liquor, homemade eggnog is a far cry from the cloying, chemical-laden stuff that comes from cartons. And the biggest surprise? It's quick and easy to prepare.
As last year's poll here at The Kitchn showed, the mere mention of this holiday classic can trigger some pretty strong reactions. But if you've never tasted homemade eggnog before, this year I encourage you a give it a try. Earlier this week, I did just that and discovered a new love for the creamy drink's clean, simple flavor.
For this project, I turned to the house recipe of a favorite bar of mine, The Velvet Tango Room. While the original formula yields approximately 6 cups of nog, I scaled things back to 1 cup total, which makes two very rich, satisfying 4-ounce teacup or cocktail glass-sized servings.
Using what I had in my liquor cabinet, I substituted a dark, aged rum (Flor de Caña Grand Reserve) for the combination of brandy (E&J VSOP) and rum (Meyers or Cruzan Navy Strength) the original calls for (VTR uses approximately a 2:1 brandy to rum ratio, if you'd like to give it a try). I used 2 percent rather than whole milk because that's what I had in the fridge, but figured with an equal measure of heavy whipping cream added to the mix, no one would notice the missing milk fat. I kept the amount of sugar on the lower end of the scale VRT suggests - you might prefer more or even less. And finally, while VTR recommends either a stand mixer or a blender for the job, I went the blender route, which worked well for the small batch I was mixing.
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar (can be adjusted according to taste)
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch or so of freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup milk (I used 2 percent)
1 1/2 ounces of quality dark rum (bourbon would work well too)
For best results, measure out all ingredients in advance and make sure the milk, cream and egg are well-chilled. In a blender, beat the egg until frothy. Then beat in the sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and liquor. Slowly pour in the milk and cream while the blades are still in motion. (If your machine has a detachable measure/fill cap in the center of its lid, pour the liquid ingredients in through this small opening to minimize any splattering.) When all ingredients are thoroughly combined, pour into small cups or glasses and garnish with grated nutmeg. Use any leftovers for French toast the next morning.
Have you ever made homemade eggnog?
Nora Maynard is a longtime home mixologist and an occasional instructor at NYC's Astor Center. She is a contributor to The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and is the recipient of the American Egg Board Fellowship in culinary writing at the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow. She previously covered food and drink in film at The Kitchn in her weekly column, The Celluloid Pantry.
Related: Reader Survey: Do You Like Eggnog?
(Images: Nora Maynard)