I love the holiday season; it's the time when I do the most crafting, cooking, and partying. I get to be with the people I love most and celebrate traditions that have gone on for decades. When I was a child, my mother always said, "Christmas starts as soon as Santa crosses the finish line" (at the Macy's Thanksgiving parade). The day after Thanksgiving, our Christmas tree would go up, the lights would be on the house, the 30+ boxes of decorations would suddenly turn my childhood home into the North Pole, and the Charlie Brown Christmas special would be blasting from the TV. As I've gotten older and now live on my own, I've created my own traditions. I'm a big supporter of gifting, but as young twenty-somethings, my friends and I don't always have the money to buy flashy gifts. I'm also a big supporter of good buzzes and good times, which is why I try and gift the holiday spirit each year-literally.
I began this practice a few years ago as a young, newly-legal culinary school student, after stumbling on a Chow.com recipe. I wanted to give my friends something different, delicious, and boozy without breaking the bank. This worked perfectly: eggnog, bottles, labels, and all ended up costing less than $5 per person. I doctored up the recipe to fit my needs and taste and it's now something I make every year. It's great after three weeks in the fridge but becomes pure gold if you let it sit for a year.
Wary because there's dairy in it? Truth be told, I earned myself quite the reputation at the Martha Stewart Living Christmas party my first year at the company with my 'nog. As the editors joke, “I almost killed" the AVP of food. Teasing aside though, the eggnog lasts because there's so much alcohol in it that it preserves itself and is well worth the wait. Still anxious? No worries, you can absolutely make this virgin (although I wouldn't suggest letting it age a year) and bonus points if you do, you've just made yourself a delicious drink and ice cream base which, when churned, makes one badass affogato.
See below for step-by-step pictures and recipes. Enjoy!
Lo's Drunken Eggnog: a little goes a long way
12 egg yolks
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 quart whole milk
2 cups bourbon (I like jim beam or wild turkey)
1 cup meyer's dark rum
1 cup brandy
pinch of salt
1. Separate the eggs and yolks. Save the yolks to make a frittata or souffle-- you can freeze and use later. Combine the sugar and yolks in a large mixing bowl, stirring to combine.
2. Add the cream, milk, bourbon, rum, brandy, salt and stir.
3. Bottle right away in a Gallon jug and store in the fridge. Over the years I've used everything from empty gallon water containers, gallon mason jars and gallon tupperware.
1. Wait 3 weeks or up to 1 year.
2. Garnish with some freshly grated nutmeg and get into the holiday spirit.
For Virgin/The Raw Egg Wary/Ice Cream makers:
1. Heat heavy cream, milk, salt & 1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg in a sauce pan until warm.
2. Take bowl of combined yolks and sugar and place over a pot of hot water and stir until it reaches 140 degrees F. Let temperature sit for 3 minutes.
3. Slowly pour dairy into egg mixture and cool over a bowl of ice water.
4. Once cool, put in fridge to let flavors meld overnight.