Mmm, what better cocktail to ring in the holidays than eggnog? Unless you are allergic to eggs or lactose intolerant, eggnog is probably pretty high on your list of winter indulgences … and judging by the run on the store-fresh organic stuff from our local produce chain, Farmboy, there are a lot of people who like the good stuff out there.
However, even the “good stuff” doesn’t compare to the stuff made at home. Sadly, with the fears over food borne disease and salmonella, homemade eggnog fell out of vogue a long time ago. Having said that, with some care and a bit of forethought, it is actually an easy, very safe, and exceptionally tasty drink to make at home. And not only can you make it for half the price or less, you can make it better — much better — than anything you can buy in the store. No longer do you need to be limited when stores have it on their shelves.
Why is this so much better? Because the secret of the real thing that a store can’t reproduce is the fluffiness of the egg whites beaten into the spirits just before serving. And, to make it that much better, I personally believe in folding in some whipped-cream as well.
There is no other way, in my opinion, to make eggnog other than the right way, which is using raw eggs. While the actual risk of salmonella poisoning from raw eggs is relatively infinitesimal, especially with safe handling, it’s one thing to poison yourself eating raw cookie dough and quite another thing to poison your closest friends and family members. As a result, I’m very careful in my egg preparation which includes picking organic, free range eggs (i.e.g eggs from healthy chickens), using them fresh, cleaning them, and pasteurizing them before breaking and separating them. The 10 ounces of whisky also goes a long way to ‘preserving’ the nog as well.
Finally, even though they’re the holidays, doesn’t mean we can’t still eat local. My Canadian twist on a European classic is using not rum and not brandy, both of which aren’t local or even specific to our culture, but rather to use Canadian rye whisky. Some of you are likely already rubbing your tummies and going “yum” and some are making like a cat with hairball. But before you do let me tell you that when it comes to whisky of any providence, I’m usually the cat with the hairball also. However, this is an exceptional whisky, affordable, and when mixed with all that creamy goodness, it is more than ‘drinkable’ … it is “Please, can I have a second?”
No, this isn’t a drink that anyone is going to claim is healthy … and not because of the raw egg in it. However, the shortbread, pumpkin pie, stuffing, gravy, and turkey skin aren’t doing us any favours either. But it’s the season — choose your indulgence, indulge, but indulge in moderation … and enjoy all the goodness of a country rich in goodness.
Prep Time: 10+10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Rest Time: Overnight
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 1+plus litre of eggnog (about 6 servings)
- 3 organic free-range eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup confectioners (aka “icing”) sugar
- 1 to 1¼ cups (250mL) premium, cask aged rye whisky
- 1 cup + 1/2 cup organic whipping cream (35%), divided
- 1 cup organic 2% milk
- 1 3-inch stick of cinnamon
- freshly grated nutmeg
- Remove eggs from fridge 1-hour before beginning preparation and bring them to room temperature. Wash the eggs under warm water with a clean cloth. Meanwhile, boil a kettle to boil and place the eggs in a small bowl and cover them with near boiling water.
The boiling water from a kettle will actually be too hot but not as hot as you think. Once it has boiled, let it sit in kettle for about 5 minutes until it comes down to about 150ºF (65ºC). Pour it over the eggs and let them sit in water for 3 minutes during which time the temperature will slowly drop to around 140º (70ºC). If the temperature falls further, add a bit more water from the kettle. After 3-minutes, remove eggs from water and run them under cold water until they’re cool enough to handle.
- Separate the eggs, placing the egg whites in a small (non-reactive) glass bowl and place them in the fridge for the next day. Place the egg yolks in a 1-litre/4-cup bowl and beat them till smooth. Add the icing sugar and beat until creamy.
Pour in the rye and mix well. I personally used 1¼ cups (10 ounces), but if you want to tone down the spirits, use 1 cup (8 ounces) instead.
Add 1 cup of whipping cream and 1 cup of milk and mix well again.
Pour into glass/ceramic non-reactive container — I use an old, sterilized milk bottle — and add the cinnamon stick to it. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Before serving, remove the egg whites from the fridge and beat until fluffy and add them to a non-reactive serving bowl — for example, a small punch bowl would work well.
Now beat 1/2 cup of whipping cream until it is “whipped” and peaks begin to form. Add this to the bowl with the egg whites.
Slowly pour in the refrigerated eggnog and fold the liquid into the whites and cream, careful to remove and discard the cinnamon stick (or use it as decoration in a glass).
- Sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg and enjoy.Happy holidays.
Note: I find that the eggnog, though best consumed when mixed, will last the better part of a week in the fridge.