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Dish of the Week: Classic Eggnog

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, we're moving on to a Christmas staple: eggnog.

Eggnog is a sweet, custard-based beverage that is traditionally made with milk/cream, sugar, and whipped egg, which gives the drink a frothy texture. Brandy, rum, or bourbon and cinnamon or nutmeg are often added to take the holiday drink to a new level.

The term "nog" dates back as early as the 17th century, when it was used to describe a strong beer brewed in East Anglia. "Noggin" referred to a small cup or mug to drink the nog out of. According to most culinary anthropologists, the nog as we know it today is said to have been a descendent of a medieval drink called posset, which was a hot milk and booze drink spiced with whatever the lord of the castle had on hand.

Eggnog was trendy among British aristocracy, but it became particularly popular in American colonies where everyone had access to cows, chickens, and rum. And when the supply of rum was reduced because of the Revolutionary War, whiskey and bourbon made the perfect substitutes.

This classic recipe, from Alton Brown, uses a mix of whole milk, cream, bourbon, and nutmeg to make a sweet and flavorful holiday drink that is sure to get grandma buzzed.

Classic Eggnog

Ingredients yields 6 - 7 cups 4 egg yolks 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tbsp 1 pint whole milk 1 cup heavy cream 3 ounces bourbon 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 4 egg whites*

*Contains raw egg whites. To reduce the risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness, use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running, gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.

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Cook's Note: For cooked eggnog, follow procedure below.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture.

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