Let's break some eggs
Teeming with tradition, the classic holiday drinks have been around for hundreds of years. Eggnog (really, would you drink this any other time of year?) dates back to a favorite English hot drink made of whipped egg yolks and wine. Over time, more palatable ingredients were added. Still made with eggs, it has been sweetened with milk and sugar, a distilled liquor such as bourbon, dusted with the signature finishing touch, ground nutmeg, and served chilled.
Growing up in my household, the Tom & Jerry was the Christmas cocktail of choice. The men in my family did not cook, but my grandfather was in charge of concocting a batch of his signature Tom & Jerry. A distant relative of eggnog, the Tom & Jerry relies on an abundant amount of brandy and is served piping hot in a mug. Nutmeg on top, too.
There's a world of difference in ground nutmeg and freshly grated nutmeg. I always use the freshly grated version if I can, especially if it's a garnish. Purchase the whole nutmeg and grate yourself. The aroma alone will be worth it.
Makes about 8 cups
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 cups milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and 1/4 cup of sugar until soft peaks form.
In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk, cream, and remaining sugar and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Gently whisk the hot liquid into the egg mixture. Allow the mixture to cool. Stir in the Cognac, vanilla, and nutmeg. Cover and refrigerate. Serve chilled.
- 12 eggs, separated
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 20 ounces brandy
- 24 cups milk
- Freshly grated nutmeg
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Whisk in 3/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 2 ounces of the brandy until light in color. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolks.
Heat the milk in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until hot but not boiling.
To serve, fill individual mugs with 1-1/2 ounces of brandy, a tablespoon of egg mixture, and hot milk. Gently stir. Place another heaping tablespoon of egg mixture on top and garnish with nutmeg.
Serve chilled in a punch bowl. This will store in the refrigerator for up to a week, so you'll have some to serve for the unexpected guest.
From the winter 2008 issue of SONOMA