Eggnog is always a part of my holiday season, but until recently, that eggnog has always come from the grocery store.
Enter the Stratton family's "Virginia Eggnog" recipe, uploaded by a family member, Redditor u/knightbaby11, to the r/Old_Recipes subreddit. It's said that Virginia-style eggnog can be traced back to George Washington, who started adding alcohol to traditional booze-free eggnog during winters at his Virginia estate, Mount Vernon.
Whether that's true or not, I typically enjoy my store-bought eggnog with a bit of whiskey or rum mixed in, so I was excited to try making a homemade, boozier version for myself.
The Stratton family recipe looks like many Virginia-style eggnog recipes, full of eggs, cream and sugar and brimming with apple-flavored brandy and dark rum.
After gathering the ingredients, which include a full dozen eggs, I set to work re-creating this old recipe and was surprised by how simply it started out. Alcohol is combined with a mixture of egg yolks, sugar and salt. The recipe claims the alcohol will "cook" the eggs, warning of the chance of curdling if combined too quickly.
After two quarts of half-and-half are added to the mixture, it's time to "scald" the egg whites, a technique I was unfamiliar with. To do so, I whipped the egg whites with a mixer until they formed soft peaks, then spread them out on a baking dish and poured boiling water over and around them, until they were foamy and cooked through.
Those foamy egg whites then get added to the mix, and everything sits together for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator before it's ready to drink.
And when it is ready to drink, it's delicious.
This eggnog was creamier and more flavorful than anything I've ever bought at the grocery store. And the apple-y taste of the brandy gave the whole concoction the cozy flavor of a holiday pie.
Eggnog is traditionally served in a punch bowl, but I served mine in a pitcher. Poured into glasses and topped with whipped cream and some nutmeg, the Stratton family's eggnog recipe was a holiday in a glass.
Overall, the recipe was simple to put together and a delight to drink.
TODAY Food reached out to the Redditor who shared the recipe for comment on their family tradition but did not receive a response. But one Redditor's comment on the post sums this recipe up perfectly:
"Any recipe that starts with a quart of alcohol is a good recipe."
In this case, I'd have to agree.