The Joy of Eggnog


Upholding tradition is vital to most of us when celebrating the holidays. That's why we eat the same food, sing the same songs and lovingly bring out the same decorations year after year.

Eggnog is a tradition that goes back at least to the 1700s and, judging from the number of requests Texas Cooking gets for eggnog recipes, is as popular as ever.

Although the English indulged in eggnog spiked with ale, wine or brandy, American colonists chose rum, which came from the Caribbean, in order to avoid the hefty taxes levied on brandy or other European spirits. Eggnog evolution continues to this day. The eggnog recipes that follow employ not only different spirits, but different methods of preparation.

Our recipes are Classic Traditional Eggnog, Rich and Creamy Eggnog, Rompope (Mexican Eggnog), Whipped Eggnog, Cooked Eggnog, Single-Serving Eggnog and -- surprise! -- Milk Punch (Eggless Eggnog). These recipes can be easily doubled or halved, depending upon your needs.

If you are concerned about raw eggs to the point of not wanting to use them, there are three alternatives: cooked eggnog, milk punch and pasteurized eggs. At one time, pasteurized eggs could be ordered online; however, that is no longer the case because Davidson's Pasteurized Shell Eggs are now available in many supermarkets, mine included. These eggs are pasteurized in the shell using a hot water bath that does not cook the egg.

They can be used with complete safety in eggnog and many other recipes, like chiffon pies and hollandaise sauce, that call for uncooked eggs or egg whites. If your supermarket does not carry Davidson's Pasteurized Shell Eggs, ask the manager to stock them. The Davidson's website is http://www.safeeggs.com, where you will find all kinds of information about pasteurized eggs and recipes, too.

Classic Eggnog

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup brandy
  • 1/3 cup dark rum (Captain Morgan for best flavor, but Myers is OK)
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 cups milk
All liquids should be very cold. Refrigerate in advance.

Beat the eggs for 2 or 3 minutes with an electric mixer at medium speed until very frothy. Gradually beat in the sugar, vanilla and nutmeg. Turn the mixer off and stir in the cold brandy, rum, whipping cream and milk Chill before serving. Sprinkle individual servings with more nutmeg. Makes about 2-1/2 quarts.

Rich and Creamy Eggnog

This recipe will make a punch bowl full of eggnog.
  • 12 eggs, separated
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 quart (4 cups) whole milk
  • 1-1/2 quarts (6 cups heavy cream)
  • 3 cups bourbon
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 2 cups cognac
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
In a very large bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick and pale yellow. Gradually add the sugar and nutmeg, and beat until well mixed. Using a wire whisk, beat in the milk, 4 cups of the heavy cream, bourbon, rum and cognac. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Before serving, beat the egg whites with 1/4 cup sugar until stiff, and fold into the egg mixture. Whip the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream, and fold into the egg mixture. Fold in the ice cream, gently stirring to combine all ingredients. Sprinkle individual servings with additional nutmeg.

Eggnog can be refrigerated; however, the cream will rise to the top. Stir the mixture gently to recombine before serving. The amount of liquor can be adjusted to taste.

Rompope (Mexican Eggnog)

Rompope is strong, sweet and meant to be sipped, so small glasses are in order. Refrigerated, it will keep indefinitely. While not strictly traditional, many Mexican cooks believe ground almonds improve the texture and lend a delicate flavor to Rompope.
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup finely ground almonds or almond meal (optional)
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 2 cups light rum, or brandy
Combine the milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon stick (and ground almonds, if you are using them) in a large saucepan. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature.

Beat the egg yolks until thick and lemony. Remove the cinnamon stick from the milk mixture, and gradually whisk the egg yolks into the milk mixture. Return to low heat and, stirring constantly, cook until mixture coats a spoon. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Add the rum or brandy to the mixture, stir well. Transfer to a container and and cover tightly. Refrigerate for 1 or 2 days before serving. Makes 1-1/2 quarts.

Whipped Eggnog

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup light rum
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ground nutmeg
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks . Gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar, beating at high speed, until thick and light in color. Stir in the milk, rum, bourbon, vanilla extract and salt. Chill for at least four hours or overnight.

Whip the cream, cover and refrigerate. Wash the beaters well, then whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold the whipped cream and whipped egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Serve immediately. Sprinkle individual servings with ground nutmeg.

To make this eggnog non-alcoholic, omit the liquors and increase the milk to 3 cups.

Cooked Eggnog

  • 6 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 quart (4 cups) whole milk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dark or light rum (or liquor of your choice)
  • ground nutmeg
In a large saucepan, whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt. Stir in 2 cups of the milk, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thinly coats the back of a metal spoon. An instant-read thermometer should read 160°F. Remove from heat, and stir in the remaining 2 cups milk, vanilla extract and rum. Cover and chill thoroughly, at least 4 hours or overnight. Sprinkle individual servings with nutmeg. Makes approximately 1-1/2 quarts or twelve 4-ounce servings.

Single-Serving Eggnog

  • 3/4 cup cold whole milk
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 ounces chilled liquor (rum, bourbon, brandy)
  • 1 rounded teaspoon confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ground nutmeg
In a small bowl, combine the milk, egg, liquor, sugar and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Pour into chilled glass and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Milk Punch - Eggless Eggnog

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 gallon (8 cups) whole milk
  • ground nutmeg
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, rum, brandy and vanilla. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the milk. Freeze the mixture until very cold or slushy, from 4 to 8 hours. Mixture will not freeze hard because of the alcohol content, and can be frozen for up to one month.

To serve, pour into glasses and sprinkle nutmeg over each. Makes 8 servings.

Hold glasses high and make a toast to the warmth of holiday traditions and a happy new year.

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