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updated 12/22/2006 6:22:09 PM ET 2006-12-22T23:22:09

What’s a nog, anyway? It comes from the word noggin, a small cup of liquor. Noggin also means “head,” which is quite hilarious since too much of this liquor-infused libation will affect just that.

It all began in England in the 1800’s where eggnog was a drink of the upper class since they could afford milk when the lower class could not. There was no refrigeration and those who could get milk and eggs mixed it with brandy and spices (another expensive item) to toast the holidays. Eggnog was enjoyed during the holidays because it was rich, spicy and therefore, warming.

Lifestyle expert Donata Maggipinto’s eggnog recipe is based on a very old one from colonial America. The American recipe uses rum rather than brandy, as it was more plentiful and less expensive than the highly taxed brandy. (George Washington is said to have made his with rye whiskey, rum and sherry - party down!) In this recipe, folding in the whipped cream just before serving lightens the drink considerably.

Traditionally, eggnog is served in punch cups, but Donata’s father always served it in champagne flutes, which gave it an exceptionally festive personality.

Recipe: Homemade Eggnog (on this page)

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Recipe: Homemade Eggnog

Ingredients
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • freshly grated nutmeg for garnish
Preparation

In a large bowl, using a whisk or an electric mixer set on a medium-high speed, beat the egg yolks until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until thick. Stir in the half-and-half. Cover and chill until for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Just before serving, in a bowl, using a whisk or an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream in the sugar-egg yolk mixture. Ladle into glasses or cups, sprinkle with nutmeg, and serve. 

Serving Size

Serves 12

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