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The Making of Holiday Eggnog

Every year, usually for Thanksgiving and for Christmas, I make eggnog. To be honest, I don’t remember when I first started doing this, but I remember making eggnog when our children were very young and both are in their late 30’s now. In fact, I remember making it for my mother long before I got married, though it wasn’t made every year at that time. It is easy to make and most people seem to like it, so why not? It is definitely not expensive to make.

Naturally, I could make it more expensively, but I see no reason why I would want to. I could also make it so it would be much richer, but again I don’t see any reason to. It is now expected that I will make eggnog, regardless of what we are having for the feasts.

Nobody knows for sure where or when the first eggnog was made. However, eggnog or variations have been around for at least 700-800 years, not necessarily using the label “eggnog”. The word was first included in a dictionary in 1775, so it is safe to assume that the drink was first made long before then.

The recipe is also changeable enough that there are many variations possible and most of them taste good. The biggest commonality is that they all contain eggs. Beyond that, there isn’t necessarily anything common. Eggnog has been made with milk as a base, but it has also been made with wine, stout ale, and even punch as a base. I simply use a base of milk and the eggnog I make is non-alcoholic, though it is simple to add alcohol if this is desired.

The following recipe is for about a gallon. It can be made in smaller quantities by simply adjusting the amounts of the ingredients. Also, this recipe is simply a guideline.

Eggnog ingredients:

  • 3 quarts milk
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 cup sugar (substitute 1 cup stevia for a diabetic version)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • nutmeg (optional)
  • alcohol (optional)

Eggnog instructions:

1. Pour half of the milk into a blender, add the eggs, vanilla extract, and sugar, then blend until frothy; about 1-2 minutes.

2. Pour this into a container with the rest of the milk. A plastic milk jug is ideal for this. Mix or shake the ingredients to make sure that the milk and eggnog are mixed well. Note: If your blender holds a full gallon, the milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla can be mixed all at once, so this step can be omitted.

3. Refrigerate and serve cold by the glassful and with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top for color. (The nutmeg adds very little to the flavor.)

If you want the eggnog richer, you can use half & half. If you want it richer still, you can use heavy cream. Note, however, that half & half or cream cost a lot more than milk, so the eggnog will be more expensive. If you want something that is a little different, you can also add a teaspoonful of almond extract to give the eggnog a slight cherry flavor.

If you want to have alcoholic eggnog, simply add a shot of rum or brandy to a glass of eggnog.

Making my own eggnog costs about $3.50 per gallon. The store-bought eggnog, which we don’t like as much, costs us $3.95 per quart. Thus, we are saving over 75% in costs.

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