Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
24

Half Baked, with Nic Musolino: Eggnog

HOW TO PREPAREI never had eggnog growing up. The holiday drink of choice was served in the basement of my Aunt Mary's house (she just had a heart attack, so send out some love), where my uncle's bar was filled with strange Amari that were decades old, surmounted by a Playboy puzzle centerfold carefully screened with a festive holiday kerchief hiding all the good parts. My dad made a perverted White Russian-a milkshake (made with food supply milkshake mix, not ice cream), Kahlua and any available clear spirit (rum, I think). Italians love weird liquors, so the Kahlua was the appeal for most everyone. I don't know how they denatured it for the kids. Maybe we just got smaller glasses.

I had a general aversion to custards of all kinds (the word always sounds like 'mucous' to me), but also never realized the relationship between flan and custard. Hey! I was young. But after that became clear, the wall came down: tapioca, Pink Ladies and Béarnaise sauce. If you put an egg in it, I will come. I got late into the eggnog game, and dovetailing with this interest seems to be the complete disappearance of the stuff from grocery store shelves everywhere. Particularly those in dying industrial Ohio, where asking a former steelworker, now shelver at Giant Eagle, for organic eggnog seems a bit precious. A few years back, in very Mom-fashion, mine parried my frustration with "why don't you just make it?"

I'm not going to pretend some family member whispered the secret word in my ear and a cookbook arose from mud-I found this recipe the same way I find decent porn: the internet. And I'm not going to transcribe it because every year it's in the top two in Google searches (you think I bookmark this?) for 'eggnog recipe.' This indicates that either no one makes eggnog anymore, or that this single serving site is a mastery of SEO and anyone who makes a living running a blog deserves all the AdWords revenue they can garner.

But! Some notes: Bourbon. Yes, two cups. I won't deny that this was the ingredient that first drew me to the recipe. Don't be afraid in the prep when you are getting close to the brim-and using a large measuring cup is all the more fun. Seeing two cups of bourbon provides the simultaneous frisson of being a teenager doing something absurd and naughty and a middle-aged alcoholic sense of relief that whatever you did to rationalize your first drink of the day is now past and you can get to work (look-it's a holiday! Drinking eggnog at 11:00 AM on Christmas? Practically required). Two cups still won't be enough, but it's a good base. For the bourbon and brandy, go cheap and strong (this year's bourbon is Wild Turkey 101, and the brandy is whatever pint I bought and left at the 'rents last year)-you can't taste any notes besides cream cream cream.

For everything else: go pricey. Off the shelf eggnog-if you can even find it any more-is probably cheaper, and pasteurized and pectinized and lecithinized, so generic anything won't help you. You are drinking raw eggs here people, and organic eggs taste better and hopefully reduce the salmonella risk.

If you intend to make and drink right away, note that it will be pretty foamy right off. If you are used to the more slightly more viscous version from a carton, let it chill a bit. Both ways have their merit. And, as noted, think of the mandated bourbon as a base, and add, individually, to taste. Turns out you can add a considerable amount to a glass without the alcohol diluting the nog. Merry Christmas, Jews.



Nic Musolino is currently: a little drunk.

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24 Comments / Post A Comment

fek (#93)

The thing I never understood about Eggnog was doesn't that shit just curdle in your stomach? I always assumed dairy and booze was the original Kosher law.

HiredGoons (#603)

I remember working in a bookstore during college and the woman who ran the children's section made a punch bowl full of eggnog (with booze) and brought it in and we all chilled by the pop-up books and got 'merry.'

Spiers (#12)

I sent my epileptic chihuahua, Lola, home with Nic to Ohio for holidays. She's on barbiturates for seizures and steroids for allergies. So now I guess I can assume that she's currently stoned, 'roided up… and drunk. (Hi, babe!)

NinetyNine (#98)

Lola is in hog heaven, since both my parents are convinced she is DYING FROM STARVATION (the ears help). Also, since neither of us like the phone, we actually only keep in touch via public internet services. It's sort of the online equivalent of making out in a bar (good thing Balk already left).

Horror Chick (#1,677)

I will be sure to repub this recipe in YourMomReviewsBars.com

garge (#736)

Do we feel brandy is required? Or is bourbon okay alone? Can anyone speak to a cooked/uncooked preference? Inquiring minds–

NinetyNine (#98)

No cooking! You aren't making rice pudding. I have no insight regarding the brandy. It's just more alcohol to me. I bought it because I'm the sort of person that gets everything the first time trying a recipe, and I have some left. If I didn't, I would probably be meh, and add more bourbon.

garge (#736)

Thanks, no cooking it is! Also, a coworker just warned me about over-beating the cream–it can become less inclined to fold in? I will play the brandy by whimsy and/or air temperature.

HonoriaGlossop (#1,247)

I use an old Martha Stewart recipe that was in the magazine about 10 years ago. She's since come out with a far less potent version, but that previous one is HARDCORE… We're talking cup after cup of cognac, bourbon AND rum. The woman is my hero.

Bittersweet (#765)

We always used rum at my parents' house, until this year when we realized the miracle of bourbon in our egg nog. Sweet, sweet bourbon.

keanesian (#1,116)

fek,
I dunno how your holidays go. But for most of us, family gatherings aren't really any fun until somebody pukes.

I use the recipe in Joy of Cooking. No brandy. just bourbon. I think the alcohol eats any salmonella and renders it potable. Sort of like a mama bird.

HiredGoons (#603)

I'm going to trust you on this one.

*hic!

garge (#736)

NPR said so about the salmonella, so it must be true! I imagine that making the custard would be more satisfying, with the spoon-coating and sieving, but I like the sensation-value of the raw all-the-way.

doc_becca (#2,730)

Mmmm…regurgitated egg nog… I've actually heard that your chances of getting salmonella from a raw egg are something like 1 in 10,000. Salmonella lives on the outside of the egg shell, and most normal supermarket eggs are washed, so totally safe! If you really want to get salmonella, you'd pretty much need to go to a farm and take it from a chicken's…well, you know.

katiebakes (#32)

Where's the part about which couch I'm meant to nap on?

I feel like I need a dose of lipitor to even read that recipe.

krucoff (#560)

Feel a little misled with the Half Baked headline. I was expecting some… video.

Sakurambobomb (#1,722)

I enjoy a nice Egg Nog Frappe:

Serves 2:

2 cups store-bought organic egg nog
2 cups inexpensive but palatable brandy
2 cups ice

Pour into blender, blend until smooth.

Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of fresh nutmeg and blend again.

Serve in pint glasses and drink until regurgitating.

Be sure to smoke a lot of menthol cigarettes while consuming!

slinkimalinki (#182)

decent porn? how does that work?

I'd like those directions, please!

myfanwy (#1,124)

fwiw, we've had eggnog in all grocery stores since November 1st here. Full-fat, skim AND chocolate. Making your own nog is akin to making your own mayo round these parts…people look at you with suspicion.

myfanwy (#1,124)

also, you should try cherry whiskey paralyzers.

mickeyitaliano (#2,202)

1 cup of Bourbon relatives are talking
2 cups of Bourbon neighbors are talking

Did you also have the humongous bottle of Galliano?

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