Eggnog is a classic holiday tradition, made in many ways across the world. But sometimes, cold weather calls for a hot cocktail to warm us from the inside. We decided to see if we could serve this classic egg, cream and vanilla cocktail warmed, to make a beverage that would truly fit the season.
It turns out, “hot eggnog” is surprisingly close to the medieval recipe the cocktail is said to have originated from: a warm British milk punch known as posset, popularized in the early Middle Ages. Wine or ale was added to hot milk, which caused it to curdle, after which sugar, spices and other flavoring ingredients were added. As with many cocktails, this drink was used originally as a remedy for ailments from insomnia to the common cold. At a time when foods like milk and eggs were in tight supply for peasants, the drink tended to be a luxury, popular among the upper classes of British society.
By the time of America’s independence from Britain, the drink had caught on in the United States. George Washington himself penned a favorite recipe that called for the use of brandy, rye whiskey, Jamaican rum and Sherry. In December of 1826, an incident among cadets at West Point became known as the Eggnog Riot, after alcohol-fueled violence involving the drink resulted in 20 men being court-martialed.
Rather than simply heating refrigerated eggnog, this hot eggnog recipe is much like a base for ice cream, just without freezing it. The technique creates something akin to a crème anglaise, or classic vanilla custard sauce. The trick is to incorporate the warm milk with the eggs slowly and carefully to allow the ingredients to combine, while not to cooking the yolks.
Follow this recipe, and we promise you’ll have a delicious winter warmer to keep you cozy all season long.
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 pint whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup brandy, Bourbon, rum or Sherry
Separate egg whites and yolk, and reserve. Place yolks in mixing bowl, and whisk until light and smooth. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, and beat yolks again until well incorporated. Set aside.
In separate bowl, add egg whites and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Whisk until peaks form. Set aside.
In small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine milk, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Stir in zig-zag fashion until steam begins to rise and small bubbles appear. Remove from heat.
Pour warm milk mixture into beaten egg yolks slowly, and stir constantly to not cook eggs. Add brandy or desired spirit, and continue to stir. Fold egg white mixture into nog. Ladle into 2 mugs. Top with fresh grated nutmeg for garnish. Serves 2.