The Best Classic Eggnog
Eggnog is a special holiday treat for many Southern families. We can buy it by the bottle and carton for a few weeks each winter, which is convenient when we need a quick hit, but no store-bought nog can hold a Christmas candle to homemade. Stirring up a batch is an annual tradition in many households, worthy of pulling out the family punch bowl. Eggnog tastes fancy, but is not hard to make. A review of classic recipes reveals five secrets to great homemade eggnog.
First, keep things simple. Fabulous eggnog requires only five ingredients. There are recipes for quirky eggnog variations out there, but people who love eggnog love eggnog and want it to taste like eggnog.
Second, begin with a great custard base. Although many old-fashioned recipes just stir it all up, most contemporary recipes call for gently cooking the base to allay any concerns about uncooked eggs. Plus, many people contend that a cooked custard base keeps eggnog from tasting too eggy.
Third, fold beaten egg whites into the chilled base to ensure the eggnog turns out light and frothy instead of dense and sticky. To double down on the pillowy softness, fold in whipped cream as well.
Fourth, don’t skimp on the nutmeg, the essential scent of great eggnog, including a final dusting on top. Freshly grated, of course.
Fifth, spike it. Or not, actually. Or both, perhaps. Many classic eggnog recipes include booze, but when serving a group of mixed ages and preferences, serving the spirits separately means that everyone can partake from the same bowl. Offering bourbon, rum, cognac, and/or brandy on the side gives grown-up guests the option to doctor their cup to their liking.