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Is there a "proper" liquor to add to Eggnog?

  • d

Hi all --

Am having a little Christmas get-together in a few weeks, and was just debating with a friend as to what we should have on hand to serve with the eggnog. I thought rum, she said Irish whiskey. In the thread below, someone mentioned bourbon and/or brandy. Is there a right one? Which tastes best?

Thanks and happy holidays!

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  1. Uh . . . Budweiser? :-)

    My understanding is that the earliest "eggnogs" were probably variations on wine punch, always popular in ancient and medieval times. I doubt that many people use wine now, but I could be wrong. I don't think there's a right answer to the question, it depends on your tastebuds; anything is conceivable, from brandy to soju, sherry to tequila. Personally I probably prefer rum, but that's mostly because that's what I am used to. If you search you'll find all sorts of recipes, with all sorts of mixes, and all of 'em are fine as long as they stir up that "Holiday Cheer."

    More critical question to me is what to mix the liquor WITH. (Who has time to make it fresh?) In Southern Cal, we have that fabulous Broguiere's egg nog in the glass bottles.

    Link: http://www.kitchenproject.com/history...

    5 Replies
    1. re: PayOrPlay

      Thanks for the links! Actually, we were planning on serving the Broguiere's eggnog, so glad to hear it's tasty. I'd love to make it from scratch, but just don't think I'll have the time that day with everything else I'll be doing.

      1. re: DanaB

        Shouldn't need to be, I've been using this bar recipe: http://www.jeffreymorgenthaler.com/20... and it only takes about 3 minutes

        1. re: farrman

          I used that recipe this year and it was great

      2. re: PayOrPlay

        I say brandy.

        Though, I agree with others that the answer to your question is no. The reason being is that there are many histories of even how egg nog was named, much less the "proper" liquor to put in it.

        The word "proper" often refers to England (as in a "proper cup of tea."). Use brandy.

        An alternate word for proper is "traditional" and that is obviously indigenous and other alchohols are appropriate, as pthers have responded.

        And, the word "authentic" is yet another variation of "proper" and often can not be proved with accuracy unless "traditional" is involved (IMO) and, by then, it is still diluted.

        The link provided by PayorPlay above has history info and the link below does as well.

        I think trying to find an answer to your question is like finding the origin of snickerdoodles. To find the origin of egg nog is distant since there have been chickens and cows for some time now providing our food and beverage. Alcohol was probably added in an attempt to preserve the eggs and milk without refrigeration. Choose from the history links.

        There are many stories.

        I would just pick one that best compliments the flavors of the egg nog you are serving. Captain Morgan spiced rum may overpower a well seasoned egg nog, yet a bitter cheap whiskey might tweek a bland egg nog to a bad flavor.

        And, since there are many flavors of store bought egg nog, I suggest offering Crown Royal brandy and Captain Morgan rum. I would also suggest offering some Mexican horchata for an alternative to the egg nog so others can feel like thay are sharing in the sweet, dessert-like beverage of egg nog and stay on their diets. White rice, fresh cinnamon spiced Horchata and Captain Morgan rum is a delicious mixed beverage, but doesn't have the dietary protein or fats so good for you that an egg nog would have. But, hey, egg nog's not all you're serving, right?

        Horchata can be found in the gorcery store by the milk in many cities, at a Mexican market, or at a some Mexican restaurants (Taco Rosa in my area.)

        Or, just call one of your favorite guests and ask them to suggest the nog liquor.

        One of my friends would suggest you serve Louis XIII cognac with the egg nog. And, another friend of mine would probably feel fine drinking four or five of those. (I can not serve it as a host that way this year and can not suggest you do either.)

        And, are you planning to serve the proper liquor from a decanter?

        Happy holidays!

        Link: http://whatscookingamerica.net/Eggnog...

        1. re: kc girl

          Agreed. Brandy is the key -- not cognac though. I think the cognac flavor is a little wasted on eggnog.

          I like the eggnog slightly warmed, and then the brandy added. Makes the best quality of both nog and brandy come to life. When I serve it at a party, I serve the eggnog warm from a samovar (not hot like coffee or chocolate, but warm) and put the bottle of brandy next to it so people can make their own.

          I've always found the other liquors (most often bourbon, sometimes scotch, also often rum) to clash with the sweet eggy/creamy flavor of eggnog, where the warmth and sweetness (but not supersweetness like rum) of brandy, along with it's balance, to mix much better with it.

          Also, I'd hold off on the nutmeg when you're serving eggnog with brandy. Something clashes between the brandy flavor and the spice. Put some in your homemade eggnog, of course, but save the shaving of nutmeg on the top for when you're serving "virgin" nog.

          Happy Holidays. Gosh I love eggnog.

      3. No, there is no "proper" liquor for eggnog. Some alcohols are more traditional than others (there was very little tequila in Victorian England) but that does not mean less traditional alcohols won't work well. I like a mix of two parts dark rum to one part bourbon which I claim combines a British and American heritage but really just satisfies my sweet tooth. I once had an eggnog made with Scotch, which was very bad but, I swear, given time, I could have made work.

        1 Reply
        1. re: brookmonton

          My dear mother also favors a bourbon/rum blend, though I don't know the exact proportions except for the fact that there seems to be a lot more nog than egg.

        2. one of my favorite guides, time-life foods of the world(1972), suggests 1 1/2 oz. jamaican rum and 2 oz whiskey for each 8-10 oz. serving. good call on the broguiere's!

          1. Paula Dean on Food TV made eggnog this weekend. Boy, did that look delicious and very simple. I'm going to try it. Recipe on foodtv.com

            1. Different people have different traditions. I grew up in Alabama and my grandmother always used bourbon in her eggnog.

              1. I think in New England it was probably original rum, since that was made there and consumed the most during Colonial times.

                I've also heard rye being used as a traditional egg nog liquor.

                1. While not traditional or "proper" I've found "Seagram's 7" to blend well with eggnog since it is somewhat sweet itself.

                  1. Martha Stewart calls for 3 cups of bourbon, 2 cups of brandy and half a cup (I think) of dark rum in her recipe for 26 people. Whew! (Personally, I think I'd try it with rye.)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: KB

                      I thought I was being eccentric by using bourbon, brandy, and rum in my eggnog. Martha Stewart of all people does the same thing! I use equal parts though.

                      1. re: warrenr

                        That classic Martha recipe is the best I've ever had - awesome.

                    2. d
                      David in Olympia, WA

                      It's good with Kahlua.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: David in Olympia, WA

                        I agree! I've tried bourbon, brandy, cognac -- but my go-to combination is Kahlua and eggnog. So yummy.

                      2. I love it with Southern Comfort. YUM!

                        1. your friend would suggest serving a $1800 per botttle cognac with the eggnog for a little holiday get together? I want to party with you!

                          Seriously, you can't take THAT seriously. Go with something a little more pedestrian - Myers Rum sounds good right now, or Black Velvet blended whisky if you'd like it on the less sweet side. I've had both and liked both, depending on the mood.

                          1. Well, my question is how much liquor would you suggest mixing with a half-gallon of eggnog. I think we are using taquilla so I was just wondering how much I would need to mix.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: maylenedisaster

                              We usually put it out and let people mix their own. That way you can also offer a choice of rum, bourbon, brandy, sherry, whatever.

                              Historically, nogs often contained ale, but that was before the British started using hops, which I definitely wouldn't want in an eggnog.

                            2. My MIL always uses brandy, and I find it a little too sweet. I prefer Maker's Mark (bourbon) in mine. It's a little more bracing to me.

                              1. Historically until the recipe changed in colonial America it was made with wine or beer. then the colonisits started using rum to make it. Now rum is traditional but you can also use whiskey and brandy. Check out the link

                                http://www.slashfood.com/2006/11/21/c...

                                1. I love it all... I probably make more rum & nogs but bourbon & nog is great, southern comfort & nog is good too.... never tried brandy & nog but I can see the connect with the sweet taste notes.

                                  1. I vote for the Louis XIII. It's also good in pancakes. There is nothing like a big stack of those with a big glass of 1967 D'Yquem.

                                    1. I usually use white rum.

                                      1. Desert Rat,

                                        I've been making Paula Deans recipe for the past two years and it's a great recipe. We like to add amaretto instead of whiskey!

                                        1. I think Bourbon is the best and Alton Brown agrees with me. No need for the most expensive single barrel bourbon Maker's Mark is great.

                                          1. I feel obligated to second the Martha Stewart recipe which calls for a blend of bourbon, brandy and rum. I use Maker's Mark, Hine, and Mount Gay. It has been the household recipe for many years and has proven a reliable lubricant for potentially stressful family holiday interactions. It is incredibly delicious and very strong, so serve it in small cups with saucers (if you have them) to catch the inevitable dribbles.

                                            1. I realize this is a few weeks after the fact, but I tasted the most delicious and fragrant eggnog drink that Elixir (corner of Guerrero and 16th st. in San Francisco) featured this month. It was eggnog and tequila served up with a shaving of mandarin orange. It was creamy and delicious and a pleasant surprise. I must admit tequila and eggnog don't sound like a tasty combination to me.

                                              -----
                                              Elixir
                                              3200 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                              1. We use a mix of Myers Rum and decent quality brandy (Raynal) in the eggnog we make (using the standard Joy of Cooking Recipe.) Its easy to make and produces a stupendous nog. We do add additional liquor at the end when assembling. The whole thing can and should be made several hours ahead except for the final addition of beaten egg whites which creates an incredible texture. Its incredibly festive, delicious and so much better than the commercial products.

                                                We just bought another quart of high quality commercial nog - it was spoiled by the artificial run flavor they use. We could not spike it with rum, it tasted very weird, but was ok with brandy.

                                                1. I always thought that adding rum was traditional, but in reading these replies, I am wondering how I got that idea...? Anyway, I still think that rum is a perfect addition to a rich eggnog. This year, after finishing the only bottle I had of my favorite rum, Barbancourt, I went with Kahlua, which tasted fabulous. Along similar lines to these two options, I think that whiskey, bourbon, Amaretto or even Frangelico would be excellent choices. I doubt that I would like tequila in my egg nog, but that's just me.

                                                  1. I can't locate the recipe, but I once made an eggnog which called for about 4 bottles (fifths) of assorted liquors & spirits. It was so strong that only my grandfather was able to drink it!

                                                    This link seems to have a good recipe, both cooked and uncooked egg versions:
                                                    http://www.whats4eats.com/beverages/e...

                                                    but my favourite part was "do not serve the uncooked version to the very young..."
                                                    (does this mean that bad Auntie Caralien should be serving the cooked version to the nieces and nephews next year?)

                                                    1. The "traditional" early American version, from George Washington himself ( in his own hand in his journals), calls for 1 part rye whiskey, 2 parts brandy, 1 part navy rum, and 1/2 part cream sherry. eggs separated, yolks beaten w/teaspoon of sugar per egg, liquor mixed and added "drop by drop" to yolks/sugar, added to milk and cream (I use half and half), whites beaten until stiff and folded into mixture. "'store in cool place and sample frequently. For our purposes 1 cup=1 part. (a dozen eggs works fine) and 2 quarts of half and half. You really can't beat this.....

                                                      1. I've always used Southern Comfort, but this year have tried a couple strong spiced rums -Kraken and Goslings Black Seal - and they both worked well, but I didn't use as much as I would with a less strongly flavored liquor as they overpowered the taste of the eggnog. So if you are more concerned with kick than taste, use a light rum.