The history of eggnog is said to have started in Britain where it was derived from a milk-ale punch that was heated and spiced called posset. Monks would later introduce eggs to the mixture. At the time, eggs, milk and sherry were luxury commodities, so consuming these drinks was a toast to prosperity and good health. The drink began to make its way across the pond where rum became the signature alcohol base. The origin of the name eggnog isn’t certain, but is believed to have derived from either the term nog, which was a wooden cup, or grog, a strong beer. Regardless, the name stuck and has remained a seasonal holiday drink since the late 18th century.
Store-bought eggnog from a carton holds no comparison to a homemade batch, but crafting it is a physical process. I never made eggnog from scratch before — it looked like too much work and the store-bought version’s sugary taste of mediocrity didn’t help me get why everyone thought it was great. So I decided to figure that out on my own and make it myself.
The original recipe I used came from Serious Eats and called for bacon, which I omitted. Instead we added some sherry and rum to the mix which was a really delicious decision.
Maple Bourbon Eggnog
(adapted from Serious Eats)
8 eggs, separated
2/3 cup maple syrup
3 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups bourbon
1/2 cup sherry
1/2 cup rum
Using a hand or stand mixer, whisk egg whites on low speed until frothy. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until they are the consistency of shaving cream. Reduce speed to medium. While mixing, add half of the maple syrup and beat until incorporated. Transfer the egg whites to a large bowl – do not wash the bowl yet.
Add egg yolks and the remaining maple syrup to the bowl. Beat at medium-high speed until they are pale yellow and begin to ribbon. Be sure to scrape the sides if necessary. Add milk, cream, and alcohol and mix together on low speed to combine.
Using a spatula or whisk, fold in the whipped egg whites until they are incorporated in the yolk mixture. Feel free to transfer to a pitcher.
Pour into glasses and sprinkle with nutmeg.
Wary drinkers of raw eggs need not be afraid… thermal action from whipping the eggs deactivates the egg enzymes, but you can substitute with pasteurized eggs found in grocery stores.