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Eggnog Is the F*cking Best Holiday Beverage On the Planet

By James Field | Food Porn | December 17, 2021 |

By James Field | Food Porn | December 17, 2021 |


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Eggnog. Love it or hate it, it’s synonymous with the white people holiday season. And what’s not to love? It’s cold, creamy, high octane deliciousness. It’s all delicious, whether it’s store-bought, a homemade cooked custard with whipped egg whites folded in, or a 6-month old aged egg yolk classic. “But James,” I hear you say as though we’re friends. “It’s like a melted milkshake.” No kidding it’s like a melted milkshake, Janice. Melted milkshakes are still delicious. Let’s be honest; with your dating history, you’ve already put much worse things in your mouth.

That being said, store-bought eggnog really is just a melted milkshake and the fancy-schmancy folded egg white kind is a giant pain in the butt, so this year I went old school. Egg yolks, sugar, and various dairy products combined with enough liquor to kill the burliest bacteria. Give it a few weeks, months, or years in the fridge and it will remain safe and delicious. It’s practically health food! (Editor’s note: Not health food.) So I spent a Saturday afternoon whipping up a batch, stuck it in the fridge, and about a month later pulled out the best holiday season beverage on the planet. And here’s how I did it.

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A note about alcohol: Everyone will tell you not to use top-shelf liquor for a cocktail, and they’re right. No one should waste Johnny Walker Blue on a jar of eggnog. But neither should you use the stuff that comes in a plastic gallon jug. No eggnog was ever improved by Mr. Boston’s “Irish” whisky. If you wouldn’t drink it neat or over ice, you don’t want it in your nog. As you can see, I’ve gone with four different boozes; gold rum, bourbon, cognac, and applejack. Applejack is a traditional New England beverage dating back to the late 17th century. Similar in flavor to apple brandy, it got its name from the process of “jacking” hard cider. Stick a barrel of cider out in the winter cold, and every morning discard the top layer of ice. This concentrates the alcohol, and you end up with a liquor between 50 to 80-proof. Though time-consuming, it’s much easier and less expensive than distillation. I tried it myself in my 20s, and it works like a charm. I don’t recommend it, however, because along with ethanol you also get concentrated methanol and other toxic chemicals. Better to shell out $20-30 for a bottle of safely distilled hooch.

A note about eggs: Do you have an autoimmune deficiency? Is your stomach acid somehow not up to snuff? Are you pregnant? Are you otherwise at extra risk for salmonella poisoning? If so, don’t drink this nog. But healthy people will be fine. Probably. You could also use pasteurized eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4oz raw sugar
  • 4oz dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups liquor(s) of your choice as long as it’s at least 80-proof
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

I know what you’re thinking. “But James, neither raw nor dark brown sugar dissolves well in cold liquids.” Don’t you think I know that, Janice? You could use plain sugar, particularly if you use dark rum as one of your alcohols. The great thing about this recipe is it easily scales up if you want enough for the winter months or give it as gifts. This is enough to fill two 4-cup Mason jars.

  • Separate the yolks and whites, and save the latter for meringue cookies. Put the yolks in a large bowl.
  • Pulverize the sugars in a food processor for a solid 2 minutes. Now they’ll dissolve in anything. (See, Janice?!)
  • Add the sugar and salt to the egg yolks and whip them until it reaches the ribbon stage and lightens in color. The color… isn’t great. To be honest, it looks like something you’d find in a sick baby’s diaper. I promise it’s worth it.
  • Add all your dairy and mix thoroughly.
  • Combine all your liquors in a measuring cup or bowl. I went with ¼ cup each applejack and rum, and ¾ cup each of the bourbon and cognac. Take a hit from each bottle after you pour. I don’t make the rules.
  • Supposedly dairy curdles if you add it to liquor instead of the other way around. I don’t know if that’s true but I’m not wasting booze to test the theory. So slowly pour the hooch into your eggs and dairy, whisking constantly.
  • Pour into your clean containers and realize you forgot the nutmeg. Grate it directly into the containers and seal tightly. Put them in the back of your refrigerator and wait as long as you can before cracking the seal.
  • Stare at the absolute disaster left in your kitchen and question all your life’s choices.



This traditional eggnog is safe and delicious right away, but it tastes better the longer it sits. Flavors develop and blend over time. At least 2 weeks is traditional, but you do you. When you’re for a drink simply shake and pour into a cold glass. Our ancestors did not invent refrigeration for you to waste all their efforts on a lukewarm beverage. Consume responsibly. Or not. I’m not your supervisor, Janice.

Happy Holidays!

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Image sources (in order of posting): Header: Getty, South China Morning Post; all others James Field