Most American families who take food seriously during the holidays are now beginning to think about all they need to do for its preparation. In our family, it’s quite a production, beginning at least two weeks in advance and sometimes more.
But there’s one thing families often overlook, and that’s the holiday toast. Many people are perfectly happy toasting thanks for their bounty with a fine wine, a bourbon and water, or a beer, but our family cannot not have our homemade holiday eggnog. We have it at Christmas, and it’s really a joy at Thanksgiving.
Our eggnog is ridiculously rich, a bit involved to make, and we really only drink it for toasts, as to drink it continuously has alcoholic and caloric consequences. Nevertheless, it’s just too delicious to have only one glass, so we each have at least two, and some of us — usually my adult children — have even more.
Wright Family Eggnog
Make sure you have the finest ingredients: good bourbon, such as Woodford Reserve; a good dark rum, such as Myers’s; and the freshest eggs, whole milk and heavy cream — preferably not ultra-pasteurized, although that is fine to use.
- Set out three bowls, one larger than the other two. Separate 3 large eggs and put the yolks into the largest bowl and the whites into another bowl.
- Whisk the yolks until they are thick and lemon-colored. Add ½ cup sugar to the yolks and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- In the second bowl, beat the egg whites and ½ cup sugar until the whites are very stiff but not dry.
- In the third bowl, whip the cream until it forms peaks and you have 1 cup of whipped cream.
- Begin combining the contents of the bowls by pouring about ¼ cup of bourbon over the yolks, stirring constantly.
- Then add the whites, a small quantity at a time, to the bowl with the rest of the bourbon, stirring and folding.
- Next, stir and fold in the whipped cream, the rest of the bourbon and the rum.
- Pour in the milk, stir gently, sprinkle with a little freshly ground nutmeg, stir and transfer to a punch bowl or a pitcher and chill for at least 2 hours.
This amount is good for 10 small one-drink toasts. Triple the recipe if you want to get blotto.
Zester Daily contributor Clifford A. Wright won the James Beard / KitchenAid Cookbook of the Year Award and the James Beard Award for the Best Writing on Food in 2000 for “A Mediterranean Feast.” His latest book is “Hot & Cheesy” (Wiley) about cooking with cheese.
Photo: Some of the ingredients for eggnog. Credit: Clifford A. Wright