Eggnog is perhaps the most polarising of all the festive tipples. Many are overwhelmed by the prospect of the egg curdling, or the richness of the cream. But, for others it’s a winter wonder that warms the cockles and soothes the soul.
But how to make the perfect eggnog is up for discussion. Of course, there are plenty of pre-made packs, but if you want to truly get into the festive spirit then home-made is the only way.
First things first – what is the perfect spirit for the Christmas concoction?
Most people think that a splash of bourbon or rum adds the necessary sweetness, and it’s certainly in keeping with the drink’s American roots. Other alternatives include sherry, brandy and Bailey’s also have their own exciting version (recipe at the bottom.)
Then secondly – eggs.
Slightly contentious as many people prefer not to include raw eggs. Martha Stewart, the fairy godmother of US traditions, suggests that you make an egg yolk custard as the base. Some choose whites only for extra froth, others the whole egg for richness.
Thirdly – the dairy element.
This part of the drink determines whether you’re trying to watch your waistline or not! Whilst milk is the healthiest option, it won’t froth up in the same way when you give it a good shake and so many choose double cream instead (of course, you can combine the two for something in the middle.) For an inspired alternative, try condensed milk.
Fourthly – flavour.
Don’t skimp on the sugar. White sugar is simply the best and will keep the colour of the eggnog nice and bright. Nutmeg is the traditional flavouring and without it eggnog isn’t eggnog. But feel free to experiment with a little vanilla or cinnamon too.
4 eggs, beaten
4 tbsp caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split
First beat the eggs together in a bowl with the caster sugar. Make sure the caster sugar is completely dissolved and the liquid is smooth or your eggnog will taste grainy.
Next add the Baileys, milk and the split vanilla pod to the bowl. Whisk vigorously until everything is combined to form a silky liquid.
Strain your Baileys eggnog to get rid of the vanilla pod. Then take four short, glass tumblers and pour a good measure of the liquid into each glass.