Eggnog is an ever-popular holiday beverage that hits store shelves for a few weeks around Christmas and New Year’s and is served at holiday parties across the country. Eggnog is a thick, dairy-based drink made with milk, sugar, eggs and spices, usually nutmeg and vanilla. It is often spiked with a little bit of liquour – or a lot, depending on how chilly it is outside – such as brandy, rum or whiskey. The traditional recipe for eggnog calls for uncooked eggs. The eggs, when beaten in with the sugar and milk, give the drink a light and frothy texture. Most eggnog recipes these days are cooked and have a thick, creamy texture. They are cooked to eliminate the raw egg element of the original recipe, and cooking the eggs causes the mixture to thicken slightly. Eggnog is sweet and has a distinctly custardy flavor to it – thanks to all of those eggs – and it is delicious as a nightcap when it has been spiked, as well as as a simple, creamy dessert when simply topped with whipped cream.
Eggnog is readily available in stores, but it is easy to make at home, as well. A cooked Homemade Eggnog heats the drink through just enough to thicken it. Although it is usually served chilled, you’ll find that freshly made eggnog is just as tasty when warm. If you prefer the thinner consistency of uncooked Homemade Eggnog, you’ll want to start out with pasteurized eggs.If you’re buying it in the store, you can find a whole variety of eggnog options, from ultra rich to low fat versions to nondairy versions made with soy or almond milk.
You can use eggnog to infuse a holiday flavor into all kinds of recipes, from pies to puddings to cupcakes. It can generally be substituted for either milk or buttermilk in a recipe without needing to change any of the other ingredients, so you can experiment with things like eggnog pancakes on Christmas morning instead of simply serving the ‘nog at an evening event.