Taking a break from the usual report of the stand-out beers sampled over the weekend, we are instead going to take a look at a recipe for homemade eggnog that recently got rave reviews from the holiday-party revelers.
Prior to hosting a holiday party over the weekend I had several requests for eggnog, and, unhappy with the recipes that I had used in years past, knew I needed to step-up my nog-game this year.
At first I attempted to work-out how to use beer in the nog recipe, at least in an experimental batch, and Randy Mosher had me covered in the final chapter of Tasting Beer.He describes the personnel “beernog” recipe of Sir Walter Raleigh, which included a quart of cream, a cup of sweet sherry and a cup of ale.
Frankly, I lost my nerve at even attempting a pilot-batch of Sir Walter Raleigh’s “sack posset” and decided to omit the beer from the nog after-all.
After much research and recipe comparisons I turned, as I so often do, to the chefs at America’s Test Kitchen and their somewhat complex and slightly unorthodox recipe. They use egg-yolks only, cooking them and omitting the white for fear of salmonella, but their nog has a great velvety texture that people really loved.
The preparation is a little more involved that other nog’s I’ve made, but the results are well-worth the extra effort. I made some on-the-fly alterations to their base recipe; give it a try at your next holiday gathering:
Beer of Tomorrow’s Beerless Eggnog:
(makes about 1 quart of nog)
- 2.25 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 ounces Irish Whisky
- Separate the six eggs when the are cold and let the yolks come up to room temperature
- Beat the yolks in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment on a medium-high speed until they are lightened and thick.
- Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium-low and slowly add the sugar in batches until the mixture is very light in color with a glossy sheen.
- Heat the milk and cream on the stove-top, whisking occasionally, until the mixture reaches a bear simmer.
- Now, this is the tricky part. You need to add the hot dairy to the egg yolks without scrambling them. The key here is to temper the eggs by slowly adding a small amount of the hot milk while continuously whisking the yolks (this is where a large measuring cup for the diary and a stand-mixer for the eggs comes in handy!) Take your time and add about 1/3 of a cup of the dairy at a time, waiting for it to completely incorporate into the yolks before adding more. once a cup or two of dairy has been added you can add the rest of the dairy in a slowly in a continuous stream. Never stop mixing the custard and mix it at as high a speed as you can manage without spraying the nog everywhere.
- Once combined, return the mixture to the stove-top and slowly bring it to 160F (the USDA recommended “safe” temperature for eggs. We are not squeamish about raw eggs, but you never know how your guests will feel about it, so I prefer to be safe.)
- Once the custard reaches 160F remove it from the heat and add the nutmeg and cinnamon. Use a whisk to incorporate the spices, then add the vanilla and the booze (You can use whatever you prefer. Bourbon is the classic addition, and rum is always a good idea. I like Jameson whisky; it just seems Christmas-y to me.)
- Chill the nog down with an ice-bath then a couple of hours in the fridge and serve with a garnish of freshly grated nutmeg and a side-shop of rum or whiskey.
Things get really interesting when, after you’ve had a glass of this nog and a couple of hearty ales, you decide that beernog sounds like a pretty great idea after-all. Randy Mosher to the rescue again as he suggests filling a glass one-third full with a “dark, wassail-type holiday ale” and adds that “Barley wine, imperial stout, doppelbock, and Scotch ale all work well” as well, then topping the glass off with some of the frothed-up nog.
I’m looking forward to trying this with some Stone Vertical Epic 12-12-12 or other spicy Belgian Christmas beer!