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Egg Nog

Updated: Dec 26, 2020

This is the definitive grown-up, boozy beverage for the holiday season!

Egg Nog

Believe it or not, the recipe below is derivative of what George Washington served at his home at Mount Vernon. A simple recipe was found among his kitchen papers there. Ingredients were listed, as were quantities in some cases. The most notable exception was for eggs. All that was noted in his original recipe is that eggs must be used; however, no precise amount was given. After much trial and error, this recipe was crafted. A foamy egg nog that George Washington would be proud of takes time. In this day and age, we are not used to mixing up our favorite cocktails one week in advance. But with home made egg nog you must - at least five days ahead of time for it to cure. This not only maximizes taste and texture, but also ensures that the alcohol does in fact cure the raw eggs.

Equipment: wet and dry measuring cups; measuring spoon; large balloon whisk; large mixing bowls; hand or standing mixer; rubber spatula; microplane


2 cups brandy

1 cup rye whiskey

1 cup dark Jamaica rum

½ cup cream sherry

10 large eggs (or 8 extra large eggs)

¾ cup sugar

1 quart whole milk

1 quart heavy cream

1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 cinnamon stick

1. First mix the brandy, whisky, rum, and sherry in a large bowl or container. Set aside.

2. Separate yolks and whites into two large mixing bowls.

ILOC tip: separate the eggs, one at a time, over a small bowl before adding the yolk and the white to the larger bowls. If per chance, you break the yolk into the white, you've only lost one egg and not the whole lot.

3. Beat the egg yolks with a large whisk, adding in the sugar until the mixture turns a light yellow.

ILOC tip: the technique of whitening ("blanchir") the egg yolks - beating egg yolks with sugar until they turn to a creamy, light yellow paste - is the first step in curing and tempering separated eggs and milk in a specific order.

4. Next add the liquor mixture slowly to egg yolk mixture, continuing to beat (mixture will turn light brown) until well incorporated. Add the milk and cream simultaneously, slowly beating the mixture. Set aside.

5. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold slowly into the alcohol mixture. Add the ground nutmeg and cinnamon stick, and stir well to incorporate. Cover mixture in an airtight container.

ILOC tip: beat the egg whites to stiff peaks, and then folded into the creamy mixture making a "figure 8" motion with a spatula. In a short while, the whites will be fully incorporated into the drink. Folding in the egg whites adds a fluffy texture that will keep your egg nog from being too heavy.

6. Allow the egg nog to cure undisturbed for several days (4-7) in the coldest part of the refrigerator, or outside in a very cold (below 40 degrees F) place. The mixture will separate as it cures. This is not a problem. Just be sure to re-incorporate the mixture before serving cold.

Makes 6 quarts.

A Little History

The fact is, any method of curing eggs and cream with alcohol will produce egg nog. What is most unique and subsequently appealing about George Washington's egg nog is that the recipe calls for ingredients germane to Colonial America. For example, he specifically lists Jamaica rum and rye whiskey. American colonists craved the tropical flavors distilled from the cane fields in Jamaica, Barbados, and other Caribbean islands. Jamaica rum would have been available in any colonial ale house worth its casks.

Rye whiskey was also typical of the time, especially in the fertile Mid-Atlantic States. Rye was the grain of choice for America's first distillers, and is heartier and spicier than its popular modern foil, Kentucky Bourbon. Rye whiskey fueled the Continental Army against the Redcoats and even ignited a rebellion against Washington's government in 1794. So popular was rye at the time that George Washington himself built one of the largest distilleries of the eighteenth century at Mount Vernon. It was specifically for the production of rye, the sale of which resulted in $7,500 profit in 1798 (a president's ransom, in those days). In this respect, Washington's egg nog is a fine example of artisanal craftsmanship.

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