I grew up understanding “eggnog” to be a mysterious migratory product that only showed up in the dairy section of the grocery store for a few months of the year. Store-bought eggnog, though, has neither alcohol nor (usually) egg — and while I liked it, it always reminded me of melted ice cream. Then, I met Buzz, and one winter he made his grandfather’s eggnog for my family. It was a delicious revelation.
Eggnog (or egg nog, or egg nogg) has almost as many recipes as it does spellings — rather to be expected given its venerable history. Generally, the traditional eggnog recipe involves raw egg, dairy (milk and/or heavy cream), sugar, and alcohol, with a light sprinkling of nutmeg on top. The alcohol of choice doesn’t matter much, although if you’re getting a retro recipe from a booze advertisement, it’s going to call for a particular brand. (Not just rum — Myers Jamaica Rum! Bacardi! Gold label Puerto Rican rum!) To give the egg-dairy mixture additional body, it is gently mixed with either stiffly-beaten egg whites, or (more rarely) whipped cream. Alternatively, go with the modern convenience method of just adding alcohol to commercial eggnog.
But every now and then, there’s a crazy variation that makes us squint and wonder what crazed cook decided this recipe was worth sharing with the world…
ETHAN ALLEN EGG NOG
2 qts. ready-made chilled eggnog
1/2 cup orange juice, chilled
1 pt. (2 cups) rum
2 cups whipped cream
1 orange rind, grated
Mix eggnog with orange juice and rind in punch bowl. Fold in whipped cream and keep chilled. Add rum. Add a slice of orange for decoration and serve immediately.
This reminded me of Hong Kong Fruitcake, in that I have very little idea how this is possibly related to Ethan Allen. While eggnog certainly dates back to the Revolutionary War, and Mr. Allen presumably enjoyed a mug or two in his day, I don’t think they had much commercial eggnog — and I have honestly never heard of adding citrus to eggnog. Frankly, I’m afraid this will just curdle.
Since we weren’t throwing a huge party, and were worried this would be undrinkable, we made a quarter recipe: 2 cups eggnog, 1/8 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup rum, 1/2 cup whipped cream, and less grated rind. I also skipped the decorative orange slice. (Lazy!)
The worst moment was adding the orange juice. Just not right.
Folding in whipped cream helped it look relatively normal — but there wasn’t really enough whipped cream to help give it much structure, and it only slightly thickened the eggnog.
And adding the rum didn’t look interesting at all, so I didn’t even take a picture of that step.
In a desperate attempt to salvage the recipe, we served it in gold-chased martini glasses. (We got these as a wedding present, as well as a selection of martini recipes. I think they’ve actually been used all of four times, and only once for a martini.) So if nothing else, this looks pretty impressive and dignified. That effect is probably ruined by my foregoing explanation of what is in the glass.
I was hoping that, somehow, it would miraculously come together, but it completely failed to do so. It tasted how I expected — bad! Imagine store-bought eggnog, with a terrible aftertaste of orange juice and rum. The bits of rind, while cheerful and decorative, add an additional taste of weirdness. Buzz dislikes store-bought eggnog and was expecting to loathe it, but just found it “ordinary bad.”
Hey, at least it didn’t curdle. And I guess it has the health benefit of warding off scurvy while you’re getting drunk and guzzling heavy cream? (Yeah, that’s a stretch.) Well, Happy New Year anyway. May your 2012 recipes be better than this!
Ethan Allen Egg Nog comes from Americana Punch Recipes, a 1977 pamphlet from Anchor Hocking — and was shared with the internet on the Flickr stream of Eudaemonius.