The Holiday Nog

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Eggnog is the classic holiday drink. Though the ingredients, taken individually, can sound off-putting, once combined, they create a creamy, dreamy concoction that is warming during those cold winter months.

Food Network mad scientist and food historian Alton Brown is the undisputed king of eggnog. In a 2012 interview for Mental Floss, Brown pointed out that most culinary anthropologists believe that what we know as eggnog today descended from a thick medieval concoction called posset that was made from hot milk, alcohol and spices on hand.

ALTON BROWN’S NOG OF AGES

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, as it appeared in Mental Floss

  • 12 large chicken eggs
  • 1 lb. sugar
  • 1 pint half & half
  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 c. Jamaican rum
  • 1 c. cognac
  • 1 c. bourbon
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (plus more for serving)
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Separate the eggs and store the whites for another purpose. Beat the yolks with 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, alcohol and salt in a second bowl or pitcher, then slowly beat into the egg mixture. Move to a large glass jar (or a couple of smaller ones) and store in the refrigerator for at least two weeks. A month is better, and two better still. Serve in mugs or cups topped with a little extra nutmeg grated right on top.

Note on eggs: Although alcohol will likely kill off any bad bacteria present from the eggs, if you have any doubts at all or if you’re going to be serving the elderly or someone with an immune disorder, use pasteurized shell eggs.

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