Ovation: Egg Nog
There are many holiday traditions in which I have rarely, if ever, taken part. Mistletoe, for example, has never figured prominently into my celebrations. I’ve never once met or even heard of anyone who roasted chestnuts on an open fire and the only sleigh bells that I’ve ever heard were the bells my grandfather used to ring when he and my grandmother would visit early on Christmas mornings to see what the grandchildren had received from Santa Claus the night before.
While the Swedish side of my family often enjoyed glögg, Eggnog is something that I’ve only occasionally been offered during the holidays. Recently, however, I did a bit of research on the beverage when dinner guests indicated that they enjoyed it very much. I learned that, most importantly, there is a difference between eggnog and boiled custard.
Eggnog is a sweetened dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs. Often, brandy, rum, whisky bourbon or a combination thereof are added and the drink is chilled and usually garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg. The mixture is simply mixed, chilled and served.
Boiled custard, on the other hand, is similar in composition but is cooked (boiled) which results in a thicker, custard mixture that is also chilled and sometimes served with a splash of whiskey, etc. and garnished in the same was as eggnog.
Since we have our own backyard chickens, I thought it would be a great idea to make a batch of homemade eggnog to serve to our friends. However, I quickly realized that its preparation requires far too much time, effort (i.e. “work”) and patience so I purchased a bottle of pre-mixed eggnog at my local liquor store. I also bought a carton at the grocery store as an alternative, non-alcoholic choice.
We gathered with our friends in front of the television, eggnog in hand, and watched A Christmas Story. It was a wonderful and relaxing evening and one that I hope will become a tradition. The taste and the smell of the eggnog added a certain holiday touch to the atmosphere.
We ended up adding dark rum to the store-bought, non-alcoholic eggnog and it tasted just fine.
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