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Eggnog
Cheers! North CountyColumnsFood & Wine

Eggnog is still gross. Maybe…

Once again, Thanksgiving marks the unofficial opening weekend for eggnog (egg nog is also acceptable). It is time for my annual rant against the gag-inducing holiday cocktail of creamy alcoholic milk, egg and booze.

But this year, I’m going to mix it up a bit. As I was trying not to gag while filling my grocery basket with both non-alcoholic and pre-mixed alcoholic eggnog cocktails — one more example of how my love for my wife knows no bounds — I realized that despite my pure, unadulterated disgust for this popular holiday concoction, I had not tasted any in many years.

With that realization came a crushing awareness, a thought, and frankly, a fear. What if I was wrong? There are plenty of foods and drinks that I once despised but now delight in. Whiskey, broccoli, cauliflower, tequila, and fancy mustard, to name just a few.*

I am not a person who can turn back the clock. Once the cocktail glass of awareness has been broken in my brain, it cannot be rebuilt. That is where you find me today. I’m in my favorite typing seat (the right side of the blue couch). There is a small measure of two eggnogs, one with alcohol and one without, in front of me. I am going to drink them. I think I am going to consume them. I have been sitting here looking at them for some time.

But first, an interlude for those who may have missed my previous annual rants. Commonly accepted history credits the British for drinking a warm, curdled milk, wine, and spice drink called “posset” that evolved into eggnog in the Americas in the middle of the 1700s. The Brits, as we all know, are considered exemplars of taste.**

To make modern eggnog, you need eggs, egg whites, or yolks. The recipes vary. The eggs are whipped free of their sins until frothy and mixed with thick whipping cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, and booze. You might add spices that appeal to you to make it your own. Add brandy, whiskey, or even spiced or dark rum. Eggnog is best made in bulk, like paint or asbestos — interlude over.

As a columnist, I’m given so many words each week. Every single one is like a child that I must love and nurture before putting out in the world. Every word in this column has been a servant to my procrastinative nature because I really, really, really do not want to try this eggnog.

My arms feel like weighted blankets, and lifting them, grasping the glass, and bringing it to my lips seems no less a challenge than summiting Everest without oxygen. As I have said before, “Eggnog is gross. Prove me wrong.” Here goes.

Oh, son of a bean. Is that nutmeg? I love nutmeg. The non-alcoholic version is much, much sweeter than I recall. I can’t even taste the chicken placenta. It has very little scent despite the nutmeg and turmeric on the ingredient list.

Most importantly and shocking to me, I don’t hate it. I don’t love it, but, and this hurts in the core of my humanity, I can see the appeal.

The Old Fashioned Egg Nog cocktail hits me in the mouth like a locomotive, and a boozy one at that. This particular drink was made with a mix of brandy and spiced rum. The flavor is vaguely familiar. The closest description I can come up with is Bailey’s Irish Cream liquor mixed with a generic purple cough medicine.

It smells like Christmas in a glass and has a slight caramel tint compared to the pure white of the straight ‘nog. It isn’t great, but I think that is due to the ratio of included alcohols, not the eggnog.

In conclusion, I haven’t been proven entirely wrong, but it seems to be a case where I’m not entirely correct. Please don’t tell my wife — a passionate imbiber of eggnog. I’ll never live this down.

* But not olives. Olives are still gross. High-five 9-year-old me.
** Decide for yourselves the level of sincerity you should read that line with.

Don’t forget to follow Cheers! North County on Instagram. Got an interesting story about your drinking adventures? Reach out! I want to hear it.

An Eggnog recipe: Store-bought eggnog has likely been pasteurized. If you make it at home, be sure to use pasteurized eggs or make sure you’ve heated your egg base to at least 160° to prevent any salmonella from forming.

Ingredients:

  • 12 large egg yolks (pasteurized)
  • 1 pound granulated sugar
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1 quart whipped heavy cream
  • 1 liter of booze: Brandy is recommended, but dark rum, bourbon, or whiskey will do just fine.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Nutmeg, all-spice, cinnamon, and clove spices to taste

Directions:

  1. Start whipping the egg yolks in a bowl.*
  2. Add the sugar as you whip those eggs, and keep whipping until the mix thickens like porridge
  3. Stir in the booze.
  4. Stir in the milk.
  5. Chill for at least three hours, but I recommend overnight.
  6. Fold in heavy whipped cream. This means using a spatula to blend the chilled mix and heavy cream.
  7. Dust with your chosen spices to taste.

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