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How to Make a Better Eggnog

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If you're like us, you look to the seasons for what to cook -- or what to drink. Get to the market, and we'll show you what to do with your haul.

Today: A sassy, slightly blasphemous version of a classic to make your holiday season better. 

clyde common eggnog

After we try Clyde Common’s eggnog our first reaction is think about how awesome this would be in bread pudding. And then we begin to consider that it’s something like a deranged protein shake -- what with its 12 eggs and serious slap on the ass from hard alcohol -- but we decide to return to the first comment because right now, that's the point.

The holidays are a full court press of cream and butter and silky, custardy fat and we’d be silly not to just go with it, not to let all of our meals swap places with each other like free spirits at a swingers’ party: dessert into breakfast into protein shake into cocktail. It is winter, damn it, and we will eat like kings. 

how to make eggnog

The eggnog we know is the liquid equivalent of an ugly Christmas sweater before we appropriated it for our own ironic enjoyment: It makes a showing at every holiday party because it’s what our relatives did before us and we’re too polite to break tradition. It’s a little obligatory and largely ignored, and it grows unpleasantly tepid next to the fruitcakes, sad and still wrapped, on the dessert table. Guests pass it over for the trough of fun-loving gin punch, and why wouldn’t they?

This is not that eggnog. This one, from Clyde Common’s Jeffrey Morgenthaler, smartly swaps Amontillado sherry and añejo tequila for the syrupy rums that normally shack up with eggnog’s requisite eggs and truckload of dairy. (The latter he kept, because remember the part about just going with it?) It’s smoky and it’s nuanced, and for both of these reasons it makes consuming a glass full of cream and raw eggs not feel like an exhaustive exercise. You’ll take a second sip, and then a third. 

A good eggnog is a flip, and that’s where many of the cartoned and ladled concoctions of our past go wrong. To do it right, you should be shaking each one with everything you’ve got. The reward is something like a boozy milkshake, all smooth from the egg and frothy from the sheer strength of your forearms. But no one is looking to do this at a holiday party, and if you are, you’re having a party for the wrong reasons. 

Holiday parties are about good cheer and getting a little wobbly and drinking with your friends, which is why we’re thankful that Morgenthaler gives us permission to make ours in a blender. (Did you think blended drinks were cocktail sin? Let him convince you otherwise.)

Start by beating the eggs, then slowly add in a small heap of sugar. Do not think twice about this heap. Then in goes everything else, with a caveat: You will have to blend in batches. One full recipe will in no way fit in a standard blender, and while having such a large quantity of this sweet, spiked eggnog is a blessing from the heavens, it can also be a little scary when blitzed on high speed. You will be mad at Morgenthaler for not telling you this in his book and then you will try the eggnog and you will love him again. I think he knew this would happen.

Press blend. Chill. Save your strength for the morning after. 


Clyde Common's Better Eggnog 

Serves many (makes about one gallon)

12 eggs
2 1/4 cups superfine sugar
12 ounces añejo tequila
15 ounces Amontillado sherry
36 ounces whole milk
24 ounces heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here.

Photos by Mark Weinberg 

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Tags: Tequila, Long Reads, Editors' Picks, Holiday Entertaining