Yesterday we posted about what K&L employees bring to holiday parties, and Melissa Lavrinc Smith, who works in our Redwood City store, mentioned her "legendary eggnog." After a little prodding, Melissa agreed to share her recipe so that you, too, could be legendary among friends. (And being known for eggnog is better than being known for a martini or mojito since it's a seasonal cocktail and you won't be stuck making the same thing party after party.) But first, a little about eggnog.
Contrary to popular belief, real Eggnog doesn't come in a cardboard carton. Real eggnog is drinkable cocktail history. The rich, spicy beverage has European roots, and is thought to have evolved from punches made with egg, milk and wine back in the 17th century. In Colonial America, rum, which was cheaper and more accessible, supplanted wine, but little else changed in the drink--a spice here, a spirit there--until the 1950s, when convenience and the FDA relegated eggnog to the supermarket shelf and its current insipid state. The best modern eggnog recipes call for aging in the dark recesses of your refrigerator for three weeks to a year, a process where the alcohol, according to an article by Jason Horn on Chow.com, "denatures some of the egg and dairy proteins, causing the change in color and mouthfeel..." It also allows all the flavors to blend together.
Still, aging doesn't guarantee good eggnog. As any mixologist will tell you: Quality ingredients are the basis for any good cocktail and, we think, can make an eggnog aged for just a week (or not at all) more delicious than anything you've ever tasted. For the recipe below Melissa suggests using Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva Rum, German-Robin Craft Method Brandy and Bulleit Bourbon.
Good eggnog is like a space heater for your soul, warming you up with spice and booze from the inside out. So this year, rather than make cookies or lug a brick of fruitcake along to that holiday gathering, whip up a batch of eggnog and toast the spirit of the season.
I've been making and refining this recipe for years. I have a glass vessel that I add to every year, giving it ample time to infuse the spirit mix. This egg nog gets better everyday. If you are short on time, mix the spirits and add 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground clove to the egg and milk mixture.
6 large eggs, separated
2c heavy cream
2c spirit mix (recipe to follow)
1/4t fresh grated nutmeg
Whisk yolks and sugar until pale, thick ribbons form when dropped from whisk. Slowly beat in milk, spirit mix, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight.
Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks, set aside. Whip egg whites to stiff peaks, and fold into whipped cream. Gently fold in egg yolk mix. Garnish with more fresh shaved nutmeg. The mixture will separate between servings, gently whisk together to combine.
1c Dark Rum
1 Tahitian vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 whole nutmeg, cracked in half
3 large cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
3 star anise
Combine all ingredients in a large sterilized glass container with a tight closure. Gently agitate for the first few days and store in a dark, cool area of your bar.
Note: The FDA will tell you NOT to eat or drink anything with unpasteurized raw eggs, but the food scientists Horn interviewed in the aforementioned article believe the alcohol in eggnog kills all the critters that could make you sick.