Old-Fashioned Homemade Eggnog Recipe
I’ve been wanting to try making homemade eggnog for a while now. In fact, I’ve been wanting to try making it myself ever since I realized you could make such things at home.
But, like many things, it’s just one of those projects that’s been pushed to the back burner because life is just too crazy busy to make everything from scratch all the time. Amiright?
My philosophy is to take things one step at a time… Learn how to do one thing well and then move onto the next. Often what I find is that when I finally get around to learning a new skill or how to make a new recipe or project from scratch, it’s actually really easy and takes very little time to do. But I don’t overwhelm myself with pressure to do it all perfectly right away.
So anyway, homemade eggnog was one of those things that took me a couple years to finally try making at home myself. And lo and behold, it’s so easy I now wonder why I didn’t start making it years ago.
I know, however, that slow and steady wins the race, especially when it comes to homesteading and making things from scratch. There are endless skills and recipes to learn when you’re aspiring to make as much as possible yourself, and each year and season is a chance to learn just a little bit more.
Next Christmas I’ll tackle something else, but this year it’s eggnog, and now that I’ve learned how easy it is to make it from scratch, plus the fact that it tastes better than store-bought and is better for you, means I will pretty much always make it from scratch from here on out. And once you try it, I’m sure you’ll feel the same. And then you’ll be inspired to take on another from-scratch recipe or homesteading skill. It’s a slippery slope!
But for now, let’s talk about eggnog for a minute…
What is eggnog anyway?
When I started researching recipes for homemade eggnog, I came across a few different recipes and some interesting information about how eggnog came to be the infamous holiday drink it is today.
The general consensus is that eggnog originated in England in the 17th Century and was made with eggs, milk and some sort of alcohol (aka. “nog”).
It was originally made with sherry or brandy, but when eggnog reached America it was typically spiked with rum because rum was easier to come by. Eventually some people started substituting American whiskey.
Nowadays we can drink eggnog with or without alcohol, but traditionally eggnog was always an alcoholic drink that wealthy folks (who could afford milk and eggs and alcohol) would use to toast to their prosperity.
I found at least one source that claims eggnog was created by mixing alcohol with eggs and milk earlier in the season when egg and milk production was at a high. The alcohol was used to preserve the dairy products so that they could be consumed during the winter months when egg and milk production was low.
This certainly makes some sense, but I couldn’t find many other sources to verify this theory. What we know for sure is that eggnog used to be made with a few simple, all-natural ingredients and it didn’t come from a carton on the store shelves.
In fact, I’d advise you to steer clear of the eggnog on store shelves if for no other reason than to avoid all of the additives and processed ingredients typically found in commercially-produced eggnog: ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, modified milk ingredients and carrageenan (thickener) used in place of natural ingredients like organic sugar, whole milk and yes, even eggs, so that it’s cheaper to produce.
No thanks. I’d rather make it myself from natural, organic ingredients I know and trust.
How to make homemade eggnog
When it comes to making eggnog from scratch nowadays, there are a few different options.
First of all, you can spike it with alcohol or not. I don’t spike ours when I first make it because our two-year-old drinks it too, but my husband and I have been known to add rum when pouring into our own glasses;)
Second, when it comes to making eggnog, my preferred way is to use raw eggs and cold milk and cream. I love the flavour and I love that it can be made fresh and enjoyed right away. The only caveat to making eggnog “cold” with raw eggs is the risk (albeit low) of salmonella poisoning.
It’s true that raw eggs can harbour the salmonella bacteria that make us very sick, but truth be told, it’s much more rare than many people think and the risk is even less when using fresh eggs from free range chickens from organic farms (which I always recommend using, whether you raise your own laying hens or purchase eggs from a local farm).
Store-bought eggs carry a higher risk of salmonella because they typically come from factory-farmed chickens that were raised in unsanitary conditions.
So if making your eggnog with raw eggs, I advise you to only use fresh eggs from healthy chickens and a source you trust.
We don’t have our own chickens (yet), but we get our eggs from friends who have a small flock of free range laying hens. So I can vouch for the fact that I make my eggnog with raw eggs and no one in our family has gotten sick.
If you’re still feeling iffy about using raw eggs or you’re using store-bought eggs, I recommend heating your eggnog slowly on the stovetop until it reaches 160ºF (the minimum temperature needed to kill salmonella bacteria).
I’ve made it both ways and both are good, but when I cooked my eggnog, it got a little bit lumpy (like custard) despite my best efforts to heat it slowly and whisk constantly to avoid this.
I also had to wait a few hours for it to cool down in the fridge before serving, so that was another downside. But when it was cool enough to serve, I simply ran it through a blender to smooth out the lumps and it tasted great in the end!
The choice is yours. I recommend going raw if you can, but it’s just a couple extra steps to heat it up and then cool it down if you would rather cook it first.
Don’t forget to mix in some nutmeg to give your nog that signature holiday taste. Mix with rum, brandy or whisky if adding alcohol and garnish with extra nutmeg (fresh grated is always best!) and a cinnamon stick.
There you have it! Homemade eggnog with all-natural ingredients and no additives whatsoever. And it takes less time to whip up than it takes to run to the grocery store for a carton.
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