Tippling the Nog

Posted on December 25, 2010 | By The Bon-Vivant | No Comments

Egg Nog Party

‘Christmas in the South – The Egg-Nog Party’ from Harper’s Weekly, 1870

Food blogger and chef, Kevin Weeks on the history of egg nog in America.

Eggnog likely came to this country from England via its more aristocratic immigrants, but quickly spread. Isaac Weld, an 18th century Irish traveler who wrote about his travels in America, noted: “The American travelers, before they pursued their journey, took a draught each, according to custom, of egg-nog, a mixture composed of new milk, eggs, rum, and sugar, beat up together.” Brandy was indeed a precious commodity in the New World and so rum became the most common alcohol in the North while corn whiskey became typical in the South.

Corn liquor, eggs, sugar, and milk. Add bacon and coffee and you’ve got a complete breakfast.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for an authentic, traditional egg nog recipe, Weeks provides a doozy..

Dad’s Eggnog
Makes about 4 cups, 8 servings.

Base Mixture:
6 large eggs
3/4 cup bourbon
1/3 cup rum (dark is best)
1/2 cup granualted sugar

With an electric mixer, beat eggs until well mixed.
Combine bourbon and rum and add very gradually to the egg mixture; this should take about 15 minutes. If the booze is added too quickly, it will curdle the eggs by causing the proteins to denature, so take it slow.

Beat in the sugar — about 5 minutes — and store in a glass or ceramic jar or jug in a cool, dark place, but not a refrigerator, for one month. The container should be covered loosely, but you want some air to get in.

Finished Mixture:
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar

Whip the cream until almost stiff. Whip in vanilla and sugar.

Stir the base mixture and thoroughly mix into cream.

This nog will be very thick and you may wish to thin it somewhat with milk.

Serve in punch cups with a sprinkling of finely grated nutmeg.

Note: Dad says he often increases the bourbon to 1 cup and the rum to 1/2 cup in the base mixture producing a more potent (and less thick) end result. He warns that if you do this, the time spent adding the booze to the eggs will be proportionately longer.

Yes, you read correctly. To properly make this egg nog, you need to let raw eggs and bourbon sit in a closet for a full month. However, as Week’s points out, an alcohol content of 20% and a heaping helping of sugar, will prevent the growth of anything unpleasant.

But, go read the whole thing for a heartwarming story of one man and his father’s nog.

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