Christmas Isn't Christmas Without.... Eggnog

Eggnog is legendary in my family. My father's homemade version was reportedly "lethal" in its quantity for alcohol, and my mother drinks it by the quart starting in October. Normally I have zero interest in the stuff, but December 1st comes by, and suddenly there's a carton of eggnog in the fridge. Weirder still, I have the desire to drink it.

Image result for people drinking eggnog vintage

Eggnog is best served cold, no matter what people tell you, with a grating of fresh nutmeg, a dash of cinnamon, and a glug or so of brandy or rum. Although I've never done it, I know of households where the eggnog is homemade. Possibly one day I'll give it a stab, because the few times I've had homemade nog, it definitely put the store bought stuff to shame. The first time I had homemade eggnog was at a Christmas party held by the parents of one of my high school friends. In my memory, it was a snowy wonderland in a punch bowl, with frothy peaks of cream and whipped eggs. Hidden just below the surface, though, was a lot of brandy. My friend's mother shot me a stern look as I sipped from the punch glass because I was underage for alcoholic beverages. I would be really impressed, however, if someone managed to get drunk from eggnog before vomiting up all that dairy.

No doubt the first concern when hearing "homemade eggnog," is salmonella because of raw eggs, right? It's a valid fear: In the 90's someone well-intentioned made a bowl of egg nog in a nursing home and the entire place came down with salmonella, with 4 people dying. Honestly, this is pretty rare, but if you really need to kill all pathogens here's a few ways to do it:

  •  Use alcohol. It kills everything. Bourbon, rum, brandy, even wine or beer (as in Ye Olde England),or sherry (like George Washington). You could take a bonafide world tour, just with booze in your eggnog.
  • Cook the egg yolks. Not that we're scrambling them, but just to get a safe, bacteria-free custard that you then mix in with cream and milk.
  • Age your eggnog. TBH, this is the first time I've heard of such a thing but, apparently, it's real. boozy eggnog, like a fine wine, is best aged. This not only kills all harmful little buggies, it also improves the taste.
Enjoy with a mince pie and your favorite Christmas album in front of the tree.


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