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IMG_9743Happy New Year! I’m back from Austria and have kicked off 2016 much the same way I kick off every new year—by being sick. I guess you can’t survive three airports and 12 hours flying on airplanes without the germs getting you. I plan to write about Austria soon, but I don’t have the energy for it this week. Instead, I’ll share this easy recipe for eggnog that we made last weekend.

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is eggnog. And to me, the holiday season lasts from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, but apparently the DC-area grocery stores think it ends at Christmas. In the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, no one still had eggnog on their shelves. I wanted eggnog, dammit, so we decided to make our own.

Google “homemade eggnog” and the results will be plentiful. There are two basic camps to making eggnog—raw eggs or cooked eggs. Eating raw eggs can result in salmonella, which is not something I’m really willing to gamble on, so we used a cooked-egg version. The main thing you need to be careful of is not combining the hot milk with the cold eggs too quickly; otherwise, you could curdle the eggs, ruining your recipe.

You will also find a number of recipes that don’t include alcohol. Where’s the fun in that? Besides adding kick and flavor, the alcohol also serves as a preservative. Homemade eggnog without alcohol should be consumed within 24 hours. With alcohol, it can last a week or more.

This recipe that I found on allrecipes.com yields 12 servings, so we cut it in half. You can use either bourbon or rum, but we had a new bottle of Appleton rum on hand, so we used that. Note that the recipe calls for “light” cream, not “heavy” cream. I accidentally bought heavy cream, and we had to mix it with milk to cut the fat content. I also recommend using a hand mixer to beat the egg yolks and sugar, rather than whisking. It takes a lot of elbow grease to hand-whisk egg yolks until fluffy.

My husband and I made this together—he handled heating the milk while I worked on beating the egg yolks. If you’re making it by yourself, I recommend beating the egg yolks first and setting them aside, then working on the milk. That way you can mix them together as soon as the milk mixture has boiled.


4 cups milk
5 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups light rum
4 cups light cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Gradually raise the heat to bring milk mixture to a boil.

In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain to remove cloves and let cool for about 1 hour.

Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

The resulting ‘nog is rich, creamy, and will knock your socks off. I believe my exact words were, “Whoa, Nelly! That’s got some kick!” Maybe all the rum will finally kick this cold’s ass. It’s worth a shot, right?