For me, eggnog season cant come soon enough. As soon as Halloween is packed away, I buy a quart of my favorite eggnog at the grocery store. I drink it little by little, spiked and not. I make eggnog cappuccinos in the morning and eggnog milkshakes at night. On the weekends, there is nothing like French toast made with eggnog.
But the best eggnog of the season is the frothy cloud-like homemade eggnog I make for Christmas cocktails. Before I go any further, I should mention that while I use raw eggs in my recipe, you should feel free to use pasteurized eggs if that concerns you. The results will be just as good.
My love of homemade eggnog started at a young age. I was a pre-teen when my best friend and I discovered our love for making festive libations way before we really knew what a cocktail was. We made Jack Frost lemonade in the summer and one fall and winter we went through a homemade eggnog stage. Meaning we made it from scratch and drank it every day for several months.
My first attempt at making eggnog was very simple whipped eggs, cold milk and sugar with fresh grated nutmeg. If you are an eggnog lover, you know that the nutmeg is key! Soon, I graduated to Level 2 eggnog, which involves folding in whipped egg whites. You can make it without separating the eggs and whipping them individually, but it is nothing like the ethereal eggnog with the whipped egg whites.
Because there are so few ingredients, it is essential that the eggs and milk be as fresh and as high quality as you can find.
As an adult, I have graduated to a Level 3 eggnog, which includes whipped egg whites and whipped cream folded into the sweetened egg and milk base. I sweeten all three components with superfine sugar the yolks, the egg whites and the cream for a more balanced and silkier eggnog.
Superfine sugar dissolves more easily than traditional white sugar, producing a smoother, creamier texture. If you dont have it on hand, you can make your own by pulsing regular granulated white sugar in a food processor. I like making the eggnog without alcohol, then spiking individual servings with bourbon. That way, you can serve everyone from the same bowl!
EDITORS NOTE: Elizabeth Karmel is a grilling and Southern foods expert and executive chef at Hill Country Barbecue Market restaurants in New York and Washington, as well as Hill Country Chicken in New York. She is the author of three cookbooks, including Soaked, Slathered and Seasoned.