The holiday’s most polarizing drink is truly delicious. Embrace eggnog with these five tips and tricks for surefire success.
Despite its hot-and-cold reception, eggnog remains a staple holiday drink. Served chilled or toasty warm with a shot of boozy goodness, this traditional treat seems like a mystery to make. In fact, take a stroll through the supermarket, and you can easily buy a pre-made carton. So why bother with the complicated steps?
In reality, eggnog isn’t that difficult to make, and cheating with a store-bought version is sure to get you on Santa’s naughty list. So let’s round up five easy tips and tricks for concocting the perfect batch of eggnog. But first…
What exactly is eggnog?
Comprised of a simple base of beaten eggs, milk and alcohol, eggnog is a dairy drink seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg—quintessential spices of the Christmas season. From there, chefs and mixologists add their own unique ‘touches’ to take the drink over the proverbial edge.
Experts aren’t exactly sure when modern eggnog first made its debut, but ‘nog’ (a strong beer-like drink) can be traced to the 17th century. Eggnog is also linked to a medicinal beverage of the Medieval era known as ‘posset,’ which featured cream, cinnamon, mace, egg, wine and other ingredients.
The modern version is typically attributed to America and goes all the way back to 1775, where print references popped up in Maryland and New Jersey. Today, eggnog lives on in the same category as mulled wine, wassail, hot cider and other seasonal favorites.
Still not sure? Give it a try! We promise it will knock your stockings off. Here are some handy pointers for concocting a proper milk punch, courtesy of Made In.
5 Easy Tips for How to Make Eggnog
Tip #1: Prepare the custard ahead of time
If you’ve ever enjoyed eggnog, you know that its consistency is far thicker than that of everyday milk or cream from a carton. This rich, decadent characteristic is what makes eggnog such an awesomely indulgent drink for the holidays.
In order to achieve that signature texture, we recommend making a homemade dairy base for the nog by whisking together milk, flour, eggs and a pinch of salt, and cooking the mixture over the stove.
You can follow the step-by-step instructions and see specific techniques from Eating Well. Once finished, the creamy concoction gets chilled for a few hours or ideally overnight, so it’s perfect for prepping ahead of time.
By getting this step out of the way, you save yourself time and stress. Focus on entertaining guests, and when you’re ready to serve, simply mix in some vanilla extract, nutmeg, cinnamon and liquor. Stirring everything up in the blender will result in an exceptionally smooth eggnog.
Tip #2: Add the alcohol last
This tip is more practical than anything, as it allows your recipe to be truly universal—a treat for the entire family. First, let’s start with the adults.
We recommend using a rum, whisky, bourbon or brandy. These spirits mix well and are known to enhance and preserve the flavor of the eggnog, rather than overpower or compete with it (as would a harsh vodka or gin). Add a splash of dark rum and a jigger of French cognac, and guests will discover an entirely new take on the classic boozy drink.
Let’s not forget the kiddies. Or the ‘DD.’
After all, the dessert-like appeal of eggnog is right up children’s alley. If your guests decide to forgo the boozy additive, here’s a tip for maintaining the ideal consistency and flavor of the eggnog.
Add an extra splash of milk when preparing the mug, and the result will be perfectly smooth, just like a milkshake. If the entire family is skipping the funny stuff, try a specific recipe, such as this excellent non-alcoholic eggnog from The Spruce Eats.
Tip #3: Always keep safety in mind
Lest we forget: the whole ‘raw egg’ thing is what freaks people out in the first place. If you’re making a traditional eggnog from scratch this holiday, be sure to procure some super fresh eggs. Even though they tend to last forever in the fridge, you want to play it safe and assure visitors that you have their health and safety in mind.
So, is there a way to make eggnog without raw eggs? From a psychological standpoint, many drinkers would prefer the delectable taste of eggnog without the actual namesake. Luckily, today’s bloggers-turned-chefs are already a step ahead.
Check out this ‘Egg-Not’ eggless eggnog recipe from James Waters, which uses a packet of instant vanilla pudding as a replacement for the chicken’s children. This brilliant trick helps you achieve the same viscosity, enhances flavor and eliminates the ‘gross’ factor for skeptical partygoers.
Tip #4: Mix, whisk, blend, repeat
The hardest part about perfecting eggnog is the texture and consistency. After you’ve prepared the dairy foundation ahead of time, you don’t want guests to have to force down a lumpy, curdled mess in a cup.
In order to make the perfect homemade batch, we recommend having your trusted Made In saucepan on hand. This is imperative to the mixing, heating and whisking process prior to the final steps for serving.
But in addition, you’ll also enjoy a huge advantage if you own a stand mixer, immersion blender or hand-held electric whisker of some sort. This will give your hand a break when smoothing the liquid so it can be slurped down with a straw. If serving hot, your pureed pleasure will melt in their mouths like manna from heaven.
Tip #5: Don’t be afraid to upgrade
As previously mentioned, what’s great about eggnog is its versatility of flavor. If you don’t like cinnamon, stick with the nutmeg. If that’s not your thing, skip those standard spices altogether and take a risk on something outside the box.
Have a tropical destination on your Christmas list? Try a yummy toasted coconut eggnog, which uses coconut milk instead of regular. Or, maybe you’re craving something on the savory side, perhaps for a brunch with friends. A maple bourbon bacon eggnog sounds like an incredible solution.
It’s no surprise that store-bought eggnog isn’t so great. If you forget to plan ahead this year, you can still enjoy this delicious holiday drink. Buy a carton, but prior to serving, grab your arsenal of add-on ingredients.
Try sprinkling in pumpkin spice, blending in a scoop of peanut butter or Nutella, melting in chocolate, or using a coffee base for a sensational cappuccino eggnog.
The punch possibilities are truly endless!
Chug to your heart’s content this holiday season, and come back for more amazing Made In tips and tricks.