The word nog was an Old English term for ale, and a noggin was the cup from whence it was drunk.
Although most Americans think of eggnog as something they get out of a milk carton during the two-week period leading up to Christmas, eggnog descends from sack posset, a strong, thick English beverage built upon eggs, milk and either a fortified wine (like Madeira) or ale. It was a highly alcoholic beverage, often served so thick it could be scooped. It was also very much an upper-class tipple, as rich folks were usually the only ones who could procure the proper ingredients.
Yeah, this recipe has a lot of booze in it, but safety is always first and you’ll want at least 20 percent alcohol by volume to stamp out any microbial baddies the raw eggs might have brought on board. I also think the various natural flavorants in the spirits provide a fantastic complexity as the nog ages, with my peak target generally being between 4 and 6 months.
- 12 large eggs (pasteurized if you need peace of mind)
- 1 pound sugar
- 1 pint half-n-half
- 1 pint whole milk
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 cup Jamaican rum
- 1 cup cognac
- 1 cup bourbon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (plus more for serving)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Separate the eggs and store the whites for another purpose.
- Beat the yolks with the sugar and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl until the mixture lightens in color and falls off the whisk in a solid “ribbon.”
- Combine dairy, booze and salt in a second bowl or pitcher and then slowly beat into the egg mixture.
- Move to a large glass jar (or a couple of smaller ones) and store in the fridge for a minimum of 2 weeks. A month would be better, and two better still. In fact, there’s nothing that says you couldn’t age it a year, but I’ve just never been able to wait that long. (And yes, you can also drink it right away.)
- Serve in mugs or cups topped with a little extra nutmeg grated right on top.