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The Best Homemade Eggnog Recipe

Some years ago, when planning the first Christmas where the hosts were of drinking age, Jim and I wanted to serve authentic homemade eggnog. In those days before the internet and before we owned 100 cookbooks, I turned to the best source for recipes: my mom’s kitchen. My mother had a cookbook she’d gotten from my aunt, the name of which I cannot exactly remember, but it was something like “Southern Recipes from the Ladies of [insert small town], North Carolina”; I’m not sure if it was an officially published cookbook or a fundraiser-type made by a local group of women. Unlike the fundraiser cookbooks by our local church women, this one clearly categorized eggnog as a cocktail which included a generous addition of alcohol.

We have made the Christmas Eggnog recipe for many years now, both with and without the bourbon and rum additions, and it is fantastic both ways. This is a rather magical recipe that makes a punchbowl full of ‘nog, that is about 4 quarts. You can certainly cut it in half or to a quarter, if you want less eggnog. I think that homemade eggnog is best when just made, but it’s also pretty darn good when the “leftovers” are properly refrigerated and consumed the next day.

It almost goes without saying that this eggnog is far superior to anything you can buy in a carton or bottle. Homemade Christmas eggnog is light and rich, sweet and delicious. It goes down very easy and will not disappoint you. I get tempted to buy eggnog when I see those green and red decorated cartons popping up in the dairy case, and I’m always bitterly disappointed when I do. Resist, I tell you, and make some real eggnog of your own.

Remember that consuming raw eggs is discouraged by Departments of Health. The safest path is to make your eggnog with pasteurized eggs that are available in most grocery stores. People with additional risk factors (children, pregnant women, the elderly, or those with compromised immune systems) should avoid raw or undercooked eggs altogether.

Christmas Eggnog

12 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 quart milk
2 cups bourbon
1 cup run
1 quart heavy cream

1. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar until very light.
2. Add the milk, bourbon, and rum.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until slightly stiff. Fold in the cream.
4. Fold egg white and cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
5. Add more bourbon and rum to taste. (We usually skip this step!)
6. Gently pour into punchbowl or serving bowl and grate some fresh nutmeg on top.

Do be careful with leaving out dairy-based foods and beverages at room temperature. It is better to serve part and keep the rest refrigerated, so that you can replenish as needed.

There are eggnog recipes that call for cooking the eggs or at least the egg yolks that I may try at some point, but I do think using pasteurized eggs is the best choice. I’m hesitant to mess with a perfect recipe like homemade Christmas Eggnog!

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