Eggnog

It's holiday time! Every year, we have the opportunity to squeeze in cherished moments with family, celebrate, and remember. It's also filled with traditions. Seeing that the holidays are also loaded with planning, shopping, and a fair amount of stress, a little holiday drink or three is always welcome.

My holiday beverage-making experience begins and ends at Coquito, a rich Puerto Rican drink. I'll admit I've never been much of an eggnog person. I had a homemade version once, but other than that, it's been store-bought cartons of eggnog for me. It's not bad, but the flavor never really wowed me. But this year, I decided to give it a go. It was a new one for the checklist, after all.


When you look at the basic ingredients in eggnog - milk, egg yolks with whipped egg whites and sugar - the reason for the disappointment in pre-made eggnog is clear. Whipped egg whites are going to lose air bubbles as they settle. Pure logic. Even with cream of tartar, typically used to keep the bubbles alive in meringues, I can't imagine it holding up for days at a time. Fresh is best!

I beat some egg yolks first, adding the sugar as they began to lighten in color. Once they were well beaten, I moved the mixture into a small bowl.


In a saucepan, I slowly heated the heavy cream and milk over medium low heat until it began to boil. I mixed in some fresh grated nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.


I tempered the egg yolks by spooning in about half the hot milk mixture in small amounts. I kept stirring so that the milk would slowly heat the eggs - too fast and the yolks would scramble. Once the bowl was warmed up (about half the milk had been poured in), I dumped it all back into the saucepan and heated it back to medium to cook for about 5 more minutes. I prefer to kill all the bacteria - raw eggs aren't really my thing, though there is a version without heated yolks. I set it all aside to cool.


Next, I whipped the egg whites until they became light and foamy, then mixed in some more sugar and kept beating it until soft peaks formed.


Once the milk mixture was cool, I stirred in some whiskey and folded in the egg whites.


My end result was a creamy, slightly spiced beverage.


Lesson of the day: don't buy a carton of eggnog. You are not getting the same experience, nor flavor. This doesn't taste like an egg-shake like I expected. It's certainly creamy like coquito, though not the same milkshake-type drink because you use much less milk. The creaminess is from the egg whites, which are light and airy and bring that smoothness to the drink. This is light and easy to drink. I even used it as coffee creamer.

For a fairly easy drink to bring along to the party, I vote for eggnog. I mean, it's a matter of heating up some milk and whipping eggs - for some recipes, that's just a quarter of the process. Sorry, Southern Comfort, I'm not sold on the carton version.

Eggnog Recipe

Ingredients:

4 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whiskey
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger

Instructions:

Add the egg yolks to a stand mixing bowl and beat until they become lighter in color. Slowly spoon in the sugar, mixing between additions, leaving out about a tablespoon.

Heat the milk, heavy cream, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger in a small saucepan on medium low heat until it begins to boil, stirring often. Lower to medium heat, then temper the egg yolk mixture by spooning in a small amount of the milk mixture and stirring. Continue adding small amounts of the milk mixture into the yolks until about half of the milk mixture has been stirred in and the mixture is warm throughout. Pour the entire mixture into the saucepan and heat again to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. hot milk in until about half of the milk mixture is in the bowl with the eggs. Pour the entire mixing bowl into the saucepan and return heat to medium. Cook for 3-5 more minutes, still stirring frequently. Set aside to cool.

In the stand mixing bowl, beat the whites until they become foamy. Add the remaining sugar and continue beating until soft peaks begin to form. Once the egg yolk mixture is cool, stir in the whiskey, then fold in the egg whites.

adapted from eggnog

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