In my family, eggnog is not simply a beverage made with eggs and cream; it’s an event. It began in Union Springs, Alabama with my great grandparents, “Pop” and “Mama Nick” Anderson and continued with my parents in Huntsville, Alabama. As I was growing up, every Christmas afternoon, around 5 pm, my parents’ friends would show up for a cup of "nog". After taking a break from The Egg Nog for a few years, Mama and Daddy revived it this year.
Unfortunately, Daddy was sick on the big day, and he is the one who always makes the egg nog using a yellowed recipe card with my grandmother’s handwriting and instructions that are a little less than clear. So, the duties fell to me and my sister-in-law this year. Needless to say, we were a bit nervous about this monumental task.
It’s not that the recipe is hard, but the expectations were high and we’d never made it before. This family recipe would never be approved by today’s health and nutrition standards as it has 2 dozen raw eggs, 1 1/2 cups bourbon, sugar and whipping cream. It’s the real good eggnog, too, not that artificial-tasting kind that comes in a carton. This eggnog is thick and creamy; so thick, in fact, that we always put out spoons for those who prefer spooning instead of sipping. Either way, the custard-like beverage coats your tongue like sweet, velvet milk before you sense the smooth bite of bourbon. A little sprinkle of nutmeg is optional; the bourbon is not.
My sister-in-law and I worked diligently to separate 2 dozen eggs, beat the egg whites, beat the whipping cream, beat the egg yolks until thick, then fold everything together. We served it, according to tradition, in the little ceramic Santa Claus mugs that Mama made when she and Daddy were first married. Everyone seemed to enjoy the nog, and said politely that it was a good as Daddy’s. I’m not sure about that, but we do feel that we have made our mark and will be able to continue the family tradition.
If you want to enjoy a cup of nog before the holidays are over, the eggnog from Southern Living is pretty close to my family’s recipe, but does have you cooking the egg mixture, which is indeed safer! Let us know what recipes are a part of your holiday tradition.