For several years running we have resisted making egg nog after we read about a process that includes aging. This possibly ill-conceived idea starts with a basic egg, dairy and brandy recipe that accompanies an understanding that the alcohol will fortify the mixture and protect it from going bad during the weeks or months it is allowed to age. Although we have seen other references to aged egg nog, we never completely understood why aging is even necessary. Do eggs and dairy improve with time? Certainly, flavors can develop as ingredients are allowed to combine, but aging a homemade recipe with raw eggs and milk doesn't sound very appealing. Such a notion seems borrowed from the 1988 sci-fi film Alien Nation in which Newcomer Sam Francisco (a humanoid extra-terrestrial played by Mandy Patinkin) guzzles past-due cartons of sour milk as though it were fine wine, checking the sell-by-date and proclaiming it "a very good week."
Whether or not aged egg nog is historically significant, it's certainly novel. But novelty is not our goal. We are after good flavor and appropriate technique needed to obtain it. If we need to age the recipe for it to taste good we will, but we have never been big fans of whole egg cocktails (usually called flips) and we have only just tolerated sips of grocery store egg nog over the years. Some would say that store-bought egg nog isn't the real thing. Who are we to argue? With limited experience we decided it was time to find out for ourselves.
Fortunately, we don't have to look very far for a decent recipe. Portland's own Jeffery Moregenthaler features a tequila-based nog on the menu at Clyde Common, but we wanted to take a more traditional route. His blog had the answer. Lo and behold—it doesn't require aging!
Egg Nog by Jeffrey Morgenthaler
2 large eggs
3 oz (by volume) granulated sugar
.5 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
2 oz brandy
2 oz spiced rum
6 oz whole milk
4 oz heavy cream
Beat eggs in a basic blender for one minute on medium speed (or pulse commercial blenders at the lowest setting for a few moments to thoroughly mix the ingredients). Slowly add sugar and blend for one additional minute (again, don't over do it with commercial blenders). With blender still running (or not, depending on your equipment), add nutmeg, brandy, rum, milk and cream until combined. Chill thoroughly to allow flavors to combine. Serve in wine glasses or coupes. Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg.
We used Louis Royer Force 53 VSOP Cognac to make our nog, and we are glad we did. Good ingredients always contribute to better results. For the spiced rum, we followed Jeffrey's recipe and used Sailor Jerry's, but you could probably use another brand. We have a powerful blender capable of cooking soup with friction from the blades. Depending on your situation, be sure to avoid over mixing the ingredients. You want everything to be mixed thoroughly, but not to the point of cooking the eggs! Despite forgoing extended aging, you still need to chill the mixture and allow the flavors to combine. A few hours in the refrigerator ought to do it.
This recipe fits nicely into a mason jar and is enough for four people to enjoy a cup, or two people to have seconds. It's a perfect amount for a wonderful after dinner drink, but for a big party you will want to make more. It's not too thick and not watered down. It's also delicious—a far cry from the grocery store stuff. Take some effort to add a little freshly grated nutmeg on top and you'll have the makings of a fantastic dessert or a classic cocktail that exceeds the expectations of holiday tradition. We have to admit that this recipe may have changed our minds about flips in general and has definitely transformed our opinion about egg nog. We look forward to adding it to the winter repertoire!