My trusted assistant, Emilia Juocys, emailed to say she was making her holiday eggnog and I said, “Take pix! I want to remind people to get their eggnog made!”
She did, see above, then pointed me to this intriguing Food Lab article on aged eggnog: http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/09/is-aging-holiday-eggnog-worth-it.html. It seems intuitive to me that the longer anything ages, the more complex and funky it will be. But is it better? That was the case with two-year eggnog, which had turned a kind of dangerous-looking brown, but I enjoyed the deep funk. How can you keep dairy and eggs in your fridge for a year or three? The alcohol kills the bacteria that cause food to spoil (not to mention salmonella that might be in raw egg). This is a good thing to remember if you need to leave town and find you have a lot of dairy and eggs that will go bad–just ad 20 percent booze by weight and it will keep. Kenji, in his post above, says it pasturizes the liquid in 24 hours, but studies I read said it could take as long as 30 days to eliminate 100 percent of the bacteria.
The Food Lab post is interesting because it presents a taste test wherein the blind tasters prefer the fresh eggnog. Less romantic but makes more intuitive sense. It also means you can make your eggnog now and enjoy it from Thanksgiving through New Years (if you make enough—it doesn’t usually last long).
This recipe is pretty boozy—feel free to reduce the alcohol to 1 liter total, or to taste. I like the mix of boozes for flavor but anything goes here. If you’re feeling super-flush and want to make it very special, try using Oban single-malt, a whiskey that goes particularly well with cream, as this cocktail post, announcing a new cocktail, The Major Award, notes.
If you have room in the fridge, make a double batch, and hold some back for text year to see if the aging is worth it.
- 12 yolks (save whites for angel food cake!)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 liter bourbon
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup Cognac or brandy
- 1/2 cup Myers’s dark rum
- pinch of kosher salt
- Combine the yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until well blended and creamy.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
- Transfer the mixture to a 1-gallon glass jar and tightly seal the lid. (Alternatively, you can bottle it.) Place in the refrigerator for 30 days. (But you’d better try a couple glasses the day after making it just to make sure it’s got the right balance, don’t you think?)
- Serve topped with sweet meringue and nutmeg if you wish.
This will make about 3 quarts of eggnog.