How to Incorporate the Eggs. There are several different ways to put the “egg” into “eggnog.” For a few years I used this method:
- whisk egg yolks with some sugar until pale and foamy
- whisk egg whites with some sugar until soft peaks form
- fold the two egg foams together and stir into milk and cream
- add rum and nutmeg
The problem with this method, first of all, is that if it sits for even five minutes, the eggy foams separate from the milk and cream. I wouldn’t mind a bit of head on the nog, but the foams make up about 90% of the volume. Even during the brief moments in which all the ingredients are properly incorporated, the light and airy texture of the nog doesn’t seem appropriately robust and nourishing.
Out of sheer curiosity I tried cooking out a mixture of milk, cream, and yolks, à la crème anglaise. It was a bit thick, even once thinned with rum, but before repeating the process with a lower yolk content I decided that the cooked-egg taste is also inappropriate to the ideal nog.
I’ve finally settled on just adding whole eggs with the milk and cream, and blitzing thoroughly with a stick blender. The white make a nice little foam on top. Sometimes it will separate a bit if it sits in the fridge, but you can just blend it again before serving.
Rum Content. The recipe below uses one part rum for three parts dairy. To some drinkers it will seem out of balance, but to me nog can pull off wonky booziness that would be completely inappropriate in most drinks. Egg nog should warm you up.
Aging. Another important piece of information I came across was that properly boozed nog can be made well, well before consumption, and aged in the fridge. Michael Ruhlman has successfully aged eggnog for two years, if you can believe it. I’ve been making mine about one month in advance. The drink mellows and blends somewhat, but doesn’t develop any of the funky flavours of true, long-aged nog. It makes preparation for parties easier.
If you intend on aging your nog I’d recommend doubling the quantity of rum in the recipe below.
Foam. Very much a matter of personal taste, but I usually like a bit of eggy foam on top of my nog. I like the flavour of the egg whites, and it creates textural contrast.
If you want lots of foam, you could separate the yolks and whites. Use only the yolks in the recipe below, then right before serving whisk the whites with a pinch of sugar. In terms of how stiff the whites should be whisked, I think they should be even softer than the classical “soft-peak” stage. Once they reach soft peaks, the foam doesn’t flow over the surface of the liquid, and when drinking the nog it’s difficult to incorporate both foam and drink into each sip.
Nutmeg. I used to incorporate the nutmeg at the blending stage, but I found that it always sank to the bottom. Grating over the drink just before consumption ensures that you get the full aroma of the spice as it happily floats on the surface. Just my preference.
- 12 oz whole eggs (6 large eggs)
- 8 oz granulated sugar
- 1 very small pinch kosher salt
- 24 fl oz whole milk
- 8 fl oz heavy cream
- 8 fl oz golden or spiced rum, I use Sailor Jerry
- nutmeg to taste
- Combine all ingredients and blend with an immersion blender.
- Can be stored in the fridge for a week before serving.
- To serve, blend thoroughly to develop of bit of foam. Ladle into mugs and grate nutmeg on top to taste.