Posted by: Erica Retrochef | January 1, 2012

Ethan Allen Egg Nog

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…


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.



  1. Oh…wow. I was going to say you could whip the cream until it hit peaks, but then you’d have Thick and Gross, which doesn’t improve much at all.

    I like your scurvy story. That’s the one I’d stick with, too…

    Best of the New Year to you!

  2. Love your story about the eggnog recipe! It really does sound gross! Oh well, I don’t drink alot of the stuff and when I do, I put a nice brandy in it which gives it a ‘kick’ topped with nutmeg!

    My wish for you for 2012 is to stay happy, healthy and hopefully get some better recipes!

  3. One day I will try my hand at homemade nog. One day!

    • There isn’t a Dinner Is Served calling for eggnog? (It is REALLY EASY, no worries!)

  4. Maybe I was too drunk to notice this when I was downing this stuff: Wasn’t his name Ethan Allen?

  5. As soon as I saw those ingredients, my lips sorta kinda “curdled.” What were they thinking??? I’m not a huge fan of eggnog, although we did have Eggnog French Toast at our Christmas Brunch. I’m going to have to check that Anchor Hocking booklet. If I recall, there are a few “strange” recipes in it.

    Thanks for sharing, Erica AND, Happy New Year to You and Yours!!!

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