Christmas means eggnog—or at least it used to, long before the preparation of eggnog meant a trip to the nearest Publix.
There’s nothing wrong with store-bought eggnog, and some of it is very good. However, if you trim your own Christmas tree and wrap your own presents, you should also make your own eggnog. It’s simple enough to do, and it’s one of those touches that make the holidays special. If you’ve never tried it, it’s time to wake up and smell the nutmeg.
The finest eggnog recipe on earth comes from my friend Merritt Rathje, a wine and spirits broker. Supposedly, it was George Washington’s recipe as well. It’s time consuming and expensive, but worth it. In addition, don’t plan on driving anywhere after drinking several glasses of this stuff:
- 1 quart cream
- 1 quart milk
- 1 dozen eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 pint brandy or Cognac
- 1/2 pint Rye whiskey
- 1/4 pint dark rum
- 1/4 pint Sherry
- Mix the liquor first.
- Separate the egg whites and yolks, and add sugar to the beaten yolks; mix well.
- Add the liquor mixture drop by drop at first while beating slowly; add the milk and cream and continue slowly beating everything together. Beat egg whites until stiff, and fold slowly into the mixture.
- Let set in a cool place for seven days, and taste frequently.
His recipe doesn’t mention nutmeg, but if you want to be authentic, buy some fresh nutmeg and a nutmeg grater and do it right. Life is but once.
Mark Spivak is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, published by Lyons Press; his second book, Moonshine Nation, is forthcoming from Lyons Press in June 2014. For more information, go to amazon.com