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It’s not Yuletide until the eggnog starts flowing -- and our recipe for the classic drink is particularly festive. We’ve mixed custard with bourbon, rum, and cognac, and then let it chill overnight so the flavors meld completely. A fluffy meringue is folded into the base to produce a light texture, and freshly whipped cream is dolloped on top.
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1. Prepare the Eggs
In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until pale yellow and thick, about 2 minutes. In a medium saucepan, bring milk and salt to a bare simmer. Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot milk mixture into yolk mixture.
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2. Cook Base
Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture is just thick enough to coat back of spoon and hold a line drawn by your finger, as shown, 3 to 5 minutes.
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3. Strain, Spike, and Chill
Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. Let cool, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Add cream, bourbon, rum, and cognac; cover and refrigerate overnight.
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4. Fold in Meringue
Whisk remaining 1/4 cup sugar and egg whites in a heatproof mixer bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm (it should feel smooth between your fingers), 2 to 3 minutes. (For fully cooked eggs, a thermometer inserted into meringue should register 160 degrees.) Remove from heat. With a mixer on high speed, beat until stiff peaks form, 5 minutes. Fold into eggnog.
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Pour into glasses (or a punch bowl); top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg.
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Now you're ready to try our delicious variations.
Coffee + three types of booze = an eggnog for any time of day.
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Deeply flavored, almost chocolaty (that's why we garnish this eggnog with chocolate shavings), this rum- (and stout-) spiked nog is our new favorite.
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If nog is the drink of the season, this spiked version -- with citrus and cardamom, allspice, ginger, and clove, aka the flavors of the season -- might just be the ultimate version.