Eggnog is one of those things I find is pretty polarizing. Folks either love it or they hate it and the ones who love it have their favorite brands or recipes…but mostly brands. Let me tell you, store-bought eggnog is not the way to go if you’re considering ways to keep as much junk as possible out of your system this holiday season.
This homemade version, although sugary, is loaded with nutrition from raw and/or grass-fed milk and quality eggs and it tastes so much better than any I’ve ever tried from a store.
The key to making sure this recipe stays a real-food treat is in the quality of the ingredients used (as with any other recipe). Use the best milk/cream you can find. If you have access to raw, grass-fed dairy, this is the best. In our area Pereira Pastures and Field of Dreams Dairy are excellent sources. If you purchase your milk/cream from the store you can still source some “pasture-based” or grass-fed options but they won’t be raw. Purchasing organic helps ensure the absence of pesticides and GMO’s in the final product. “No added hormones” is another phrase to look for on packaging. Read labels. Our favorite brand of low-temp pasteurized, non-homogenized, grass-fed, clean milk/cream from the store is Kalona Supernaturals. A step below that would be the Organic Valley Grassmilk. You may know of or find another quality brand that is more localized to your region of the country but these two brands are big ones most folks can find even outside our Texas/New Mexico region.
Eggs from pasture-raised hens that weren’t fed soy and loaded up on other GMO’s and grains are best. Chickens should eat bugs and greens and kitchen scraps and run around outside. These egg yolks are superior and there isn’t another food that offers nutrition quite like a pastured egg can. If you know someone who raises back yard chickens and sells them, that’s great! Otherwise, look for “pasture-raised” eggs from the store. Vital Farms is our favorite store-bought brand but there are others. If you cannot find pasture-raised eggs, look for the next best thing you can find. Other buzz words to look for are “organic” or “non-GMO” in reference to the chicken feed.
Lastly, the sugar. Truly, sugar is sugar. Some of you will forego this recipe this year because you just aren’t going to indulge in this way, at this time. That’s fine! For those of you who want to make a batch make sure you’re purchasing organic cane sugar. If you don’t buy organic at least make sure the package says it’s cane sugar. Processed white sugar is often not from sugar cane at all rather it is made from sugar beets – one of the top 3 GMO crops in this country! Let’s certainly avoid that.
To help keep your sugar intake under control just make 1 batch this year! Whip it up for a party or other occasion when you’ll have a crowd to help drink it all…so it’s not sitting in your fridge looking at you…taunting your children for days after the fact. You could also drink some of it and gift the rest in cute little flip-top bottles with a label like these (but use our recipe).
Rum or rum flavoring or extract, although a traditional flavor component of eggnog, is optional. In the past when I haven’t been able to find rum extract (you may have to order some or maybe this), and if I didn’t want to add any actual rum to the recipe, I just left it out completely and it still tasted like great eggnog! So, if you don’t want to add any alcohol you can use extract or flavoring instead, or nothing at all, and the recipe will still turn out wonderfully. Do note, however, that a pure rum extract is most likely going to have a cleaner ingredient list than an imitation flavoring will. You often find things like corn syrup in imitation flavorings.
P.S. rum is an alcohol that is NOT distilled from grains and is almost always gluten-free but you may still want to search for an organic one or one that is sure to be gluten free like this one or this one. Just look through the brands of rum at your store to see which ones are labeled “organic.”
Fanci-fy with whip cream folded in
- -7 eggs see video, see notes in post, separated – preferably from pasture-raised hens
- -2 C organic cane sugar
- -3 Qts milk see notes in post, preferably raw and grass-fed
- -pinch of salt
- -2 tsp vanilla extract
- -1 to 2 tsp rum extract see notes in post, optional
- -2 tsp or more fresh grated OR ground nutmeg
- -Whip some unsweetened cream preferably raw or grass-fed, until fluffy and stir it into your nog. This cuts the sweetness and thickens the drink.
- -Add some rum to your glass See notes in post about rum, to taste, for nog the way it’s traditionally enjoyed!
- Separate your eggs so you have only the yolks in a bowl. (See handy dandy video)
- Place a pot large enough to easily hold a gallon of liquid on the stove over medium heat.
- Put your sugar, salt and ONE quart of milk in the pan and stir with a whisk.
- Beat the egg yolks until smooth first, then add them to the pot, too.
- With your whisk, babysit the warming eggnog and stir frequently. As it warms it will thicken. DO NOT LET IT BOIL. This will curdle your mixture. Just let it heat slowly and when it’s as hot as it will get before boiling, you should be able to coat the back of a spoon with the mixture. It will steam a lot and maybe begin to ripple or bubble around the edges. This is OK. You just don’t want it to come to a rolling boil.
- Once it is cooked, remove from heat and add the remaining 2 quarts of milk, your vanilla and rum flavoring, if you’re using it, and the nutmeg.
- Store the eggnog in the fridge in a milk carton or glass container/bottles. To ensure a completely smooth beverage (there can be little clumps in the custard you made – yes, that was a custard ☺ – due to all the egg) you may want to strain the eggnog through a fine mesh sieve into the storage container. If not, it’s not the end of the world.
- Shake well before serving each time as the nutmeg will settle on the bottom.