A few months ago – I was reading through my issue of the Art of Eating (which is singularly excellent – you should seriously subscribe to it) when I read an article on aged eggnog. And I mean AGED – for up to a year. WTF!? You mix up eggs, dairy, sugar, and booze and let it sit in a jar in your fridge. Sounded crazy, and intriguing.
It all started with a recipe posted on Chow.com a few years ago (yes – I am late to the party) that has been in the Hunt family for over 80 years. The recipe was obtained by the Hunt Grandfather in the 1920’s Shanghai expat community from a lumber executive. I mean – how cool is that?
The recipe (see below) is ridiculously easy – eggs yolks mixed with sugar, the doused with booze, milk and cream.
A quick calculation indicates 1.25 litres of the final 3 litres is 40% liquor – meaning the eggnog is only about 17% alcohol. So how can it be safe for it to age for a YEAR? Well according to the article, you need to age for at least three weeks so that the alcohol can kill off any traces of salmonella. So, counter intuitively – the longer it sits, the safer it is!
Fischetti and his colleagues at the Rockefeller Institute decided to make a controlled study of Lancefield’s aged eggnog. After intentionally tainting the drink with salmonella bacteria and studying the results in petri dishes, they discovered that aged eggnog is actually safer to drink than fresh eggnog made with raw eggs because the alcohol, after three weeks, kills any trace of salmonella.
The year long aging process mellows and rounds out flavours of the eggnog. Mark Ruhlman’s blog talks about aging the eggnog for 2 years, with excellent results. I had a quick taste before setting the bottles down – and even fresh, it was delicious. What I feared would be Bailey’s sickly sweetness – was actually robust and rich, the bourbon and rum giving definite character and backbone. Real grown up boozy sophistication.
Now – I’ve will disclaim heavily here and tell you that you should use common sense when handling dairy and raw eggs. I was very careful to make sure my bottles, bowls and utensils were super clean. My eggnog will not be fed to the young, pregnant, or super elderly. The original Chow.com recipe recommends aging at least a week but only up to three weeks. So my bottles will be ready by about New Years Eve – a perfect toast to ring in the new year. But a friend of mine will squirrel away a bottle for next year, and we’ll get a taste of real aged eggnog.
I am really looking forward to it!
Hunt Family Aged Egg Nog
(I’ve edited the Chow.com recipe somewhat which had whipped eggs whites and cream – but apparently, the Hunt family enjoys their nog over the rocks with a light scraping of nutmeg, but no whipped fluff.)
12 large eggs yolks (reserve the whites for another use)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 liter bourbon
1 quart (4 cups) whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup Cognac or brandy
1/2 cup Myers’s dark rum
Pinch fine salt
Combine the yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until well blended and creamy.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
Transfer the mixture to a 1-gallon glass jar and tightly seal the lid. (Alternatively, you can bottle it.) Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 week and up to 3 weeks. (Or up to year as the Hunt family does)
Stir the eggnog base with a rubber spatula to re-combine, serve in punch cups over ice, if desired, and garnished with grated nutmeg.