‘Tis The Season: Eggnog and Coquito
Nothing says holiday cheer better than a cup of eggnog. It was a staple of my childhood, sans alcohol of course. My brother and I knew the holiday season was underway as soon as our milkman (yes, we had a milkman) delivered the first green carton of sweet, sweet holiday bliss. We drank it by the pint, blessedly unaware of the calories we were consuming. I even used it as a milk substitute in my morning tea.
My first taste of ‘real’ eggnog, i.e. eggnog made from scratch and spiked generously with spirit, came when I spent a Christmas with my best friend and her family in rural Vermont. It was tradition in their home for my friend’s stepdad, Joe, to whip up a batch. I had heard about its glory for years and was curious enough to try it, despite my germophobic fear of raw eggs. One sip and my worries flew by the wayside. Fresh eggnog is completely worth it and generally safe as long as you take certain precautions.
This year D and I decided that we would make a large batch of eggnog to be enjoyed throughout the season. Eggnog contains a lot of sugar and enough alcohol to preserve the potion for a month at least. That being said, make sure you buy the freshest eggs you can find and wash them well.
Salmonella lives on the shell and can be transferred into the egg when you crack it. I clean mine in a bowl of cold water containing a couple of drops (no more) of bleach. Dip the egg in the solution and then rinse it with cold water. Do not soak the eggs in the bleach solution as eggshells are porous. Dry your eggs well before using. Additionally, make sure all your mixing bowls and containers are pristine. I always sterilize my storage vessels in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Big Batch Eggnog
This recipe yields about 4 liters. Feel free to mix up the spices or spirits. We like a mix of rum, brandy, and bourbon but you could use one spirit exclusively. Joe always adds Southern Comfort to his eggnog, which adds a wonderful hint of vanilla.
- 10 extra large eggs, washed, dried and separated
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 cup bourbon (we used Maker’s Mark)
- 2/3 cup spiced rum (we used Sailor Jerry’s)
- 1/3 cup amber rum (we used Appleton)
- 2/3 cup brandy or cognac (we used Courvoisier VS)
- 1 liter whole milk
- 1 cup 35% cream
- Separate the eggs.
- Using a hand or stand mixer break up the yolks by beating them on medium speed for one minute.
- Add the sugar and spices and continue to beat for a few minutes until the mixture is fluffy and pale yellow in color.
- Over low speed gradually add the spirits to the mix.
- Maintaining low speed, add the milk and cream.
- Pour the mixture into a very large bowl and set aside.
- Using a clean mixing bowl and clean beaters beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture.
- Refrigerate for a couple of hours to chill and then serve. Or else bottle the mixture in sterilized containers.
- To serve shake the eggnog over ice and dump into a rocks glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
While researching eggnog I came across a recipe for a traditional Puerto Rican beverage called coquito. The recipe immediately piqued my interest and, though we had 4 liters of eggnog on hand, D and I both agreed that it was too intriguing to pass up.
This recipe is not for the calorie conscious, in fact it contains ingredients I consider taboo at all but this most festive time of the year. It is, however, delicious. With both the coquito and eggnog at our disposal we find ourselves reaching for the coquito first. As an added benefit the recipe is egg-free and comes together in less than a minute. We used a jar of Honomu Hawaiian coconut butter in lieu of the Coco Lopez so I suspect you could use any good quality coconut syrup and still achieve great results.
This recipe is very rich. We used full-fat evaporated and coconut milk but next time I might substitute 2% evaporated milk and light coconut milk. Be sure to let the mixture rest before serving, the rum mellows out, the coconut shines through, and the vanilla bean and cinnamon sticks infuse the beverage as it sits.
I believe coquito will become a new holiday tradition in our household!!
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 can sweetened cream of coconut (Coco Lopez, Goya, or other sweet coconut product)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 3 cups rum (we used Appleton)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- Add evaporated milk, condensed milk, coconut milk and cream of coconut to a large blender such as a Vitamix and whirl to combine.
(If you are using a smaller blender you will need to do this in batches. Alternately, blend with a hand mixer in a large bowl.)
- Scape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add them to the mix as well as the rum, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon. Blend until combined. Pour the mixture into a 2-liter container. Add the cinnamon sticks and the spent vanilla pod and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
- Once chilled, pour into a small decorative glass and top with a dust of toasted cinnamon.