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Eggnog © Tina Vega (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)

How does anyone stomach storebought eggnog? It’s like the yuletide equivalent of candy corn — despite its gag-inducing flavor and unnatural texture, it sells like hot cakes. Certainly eggnog wasn’t always this offensive, right? I mean, if it were made fresh, it had to be exponentially better, didn’t it? Because honestly — cream, eggs, sugar, spices, and booze? How could it go wrong? (Though the craptacular cartons have already demonstrated that it very easily can.)

Years ago, I churned out my first swing at homemade eggnog, and I’ve never looked back. Sensually thick and creamy, delightfully frothy and packed with so much incredible flavor, one sip could make even Osama Bin Laden want to deck the halls with boughs of holly.

This year, however, I wanted to change it up a bit. Inspired by an old bit I’d seen on SCTV, I was determined to make a batch of Beer Nog to see if it would be as delicious as I had imagined. Armed with a bevy of eggs, a gallon or two of dairy, and a bottle of Port Brewing Old Viscosity, I set out to make a Christmas drink for the ages. I whipped up a glass and took my first sip. A skeptical friend watched on, wincing slightly having already decided that Beer Nog couldn’t possibly work. “Well? How is it?” he asked.

I extended my hand to offer a taste. “You’re welcome,” I replied. My lips parted to a smile, creasing and cracking the thickest milk mustache the world may have ever known.

Beer Nog Recipe

6 eggs*, separated
1/2 c sugar, plus 2 Tbsp
2 1/2 c whole milk
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
10 fl oz Port Brewing Old Viscosity (or other dark, strong ale**)
2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

Whisk 6 egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer for several minutes, until the yolks lighten in color and double in volume. Lower speed of mixer and add milk, cream, vanilla, beer, and nutmeg, stirring until combined. Reserve yolk mixture. Wash mixer bowl and whisk attachment thoroughly (any traces of dairy or egg yolk left on equipment will keep the egg whites from whipping properly).

Whisk 6 egg whites in cleaned stand mixer on high. Gradually add in remaining 2 Tbsp sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into yolk mixture. Chill and serve, topping each glass with additional grated nutmeg if desired. Serves 8.

** If Port Old Viscosity is not available in your area, other strong, dark beers may be substituted. Avoid drier stouts and anything with a strong hoppy or bitter profile. Here is a list of recommended beer substitutions.

* Yes, this recipe for Beer Nog uses raw eggs. Those concerned with salmonella should realize that 1 in every 20,000 eggs are contaminated according to the CDC, which means that if you consumed a raw egg every day, you’d encounter one contaminated egg every 55 years (and if your immune system is in good order, chances are you wouldn’t be bothered by it in the slightest). If you simply can’t get past your FDA-instilled fear, you can find in-shell pasteurized eggs in most grocery stores.