Eggnog is essentially a milk punch, one traditionally made with milk, cream, sugar, yolks and whipped egg whites mixed with an alcohol like whisky, rum, or brandy. My Aunt Aggie always used to say that the egg yolks found in eggnog were “cooked” by all the booze that goes into it. I don’t know if it’s true, but it makes for a good story. My mom made this every year for the holidays and I always loved it. She would make one with just a splash of rum for me. We even had an “Eggnog Bowl” that was used once a year for only this purpose. I have created a simpler recipe, without the eggs, and you can serve it without alcohol for the kids, and with for the adults. For best results, make the mix the day before and add the whipped cream and alcohol the day of. I always use rum because it’s what my mom used. I also think it’s so much like vanilla extract that it brings the sweet notes to life. My two cents. Do what you like!
Dissolve the sugar: In a medium skillet, heat the sugar with 1 1/2 cups milk over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
Make the eggnog: Transfer the milk-sugar mixture to a large bowl and whisk in the remaining cup milk, 1 cup cream, the vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. The eggnog mix is best made up to this point a day before serving and refrigerated until ready to serve.
Whip the cream: When ready to serve, use a whisk (or an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment) to whip the remaining cup heavy cream until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream and rum or whisky into the eggnog mix. Add the orange zest and top with extra nutmeg, if desired.
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