Dining (er, Drinking) In: Egg Nog

December 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

There’s certain foods that are like certain politicians. Horribly polarizing. Marmite’s one of them (love it, understand why people don’t though). Cilantro’s another one. (Love it, have no idea why people don’t like it though). Then there’s egg nog. I’m a huge fan, but lots of people aren’t. One of my Facebook friends even referred to it as “cow mucus.”

My love for the nog goes all the way back to Christmas Eves with my Mom’s side of the family. You know, the Italian side. The loud, boisterous side that squabbles, shouts but loves all its members unconditionally and has a grand old time chowing down on the feast of seven fishes every December 24th. We used to host it every year, but my grandmother did all the heavy lifting. Due to my old man’s disdain for fish, she prepared everything at her apartment and then hauled it over to our house mid-afternoon. One of my most vivid memories is of the year when her watch (which was an heirloom from her mother or grandmother, can’t recall) somehow ended up baked in among the smelts. Luckily she was able to retrieve it before it ended up on someone’s fork. My other vivid memory is the year she decided that clams casino were too much work and started using shrimp cocktail as our appetizer instead. Sigh.

Anyway, there was always egg nog in abundance. All the grownups loved it and ladled many a mug out of my Aunt Linda’s punch bowl. Before every family party, one aunt or uncle was always calling another to find out who had the punchbowl and the giant coffee percolator – quite the family tradition. It was always spiked with rum, but grandma was always nice enough to save a glass or two on the side for her oldest grandson, who if memory serves correct was the only person among my 10 cousins who actually liked the stuff.

And I still do. Much like with my cousins back then, I’m the only person in my house who does. But Christmas isn’t Christmas for me without egg nog. I spike mine with bourbon and enjoy it immensely. Couple years ago I decided to start making my own. I pretty much use Alton Brown’s recipe (with uncooked eggs, Danger is my middle name) as a base.


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 egg whites*


In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

However, there’s something wrong here. Your base is 32 oz of liquid, but you’re only adding 3 oz of bourbon. Unacceptable! Sacrilege! What’s the point behind downing that much artery-clogging goodness if you’re not going to catch a buzz? So I use 8 oz of Maker’s. I also toss a pinch of cinnamon in for good measure.

Pretty simple recipe, but there you have it. I encourage experimentation and may try tweaking it a bit more myself (chocolate shavings, couple shots of Bailey’s, maybe SoCo instead of bourbon as one friend mentioned). Will post results.

Merry Christmas, all of you. Enjoy!


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