Use Your Noggin

By Julia Price

November 6, 2016 5 min read

Eggnog is one of the most classic holiday drinks there is. It's often featured in Christmas movies as the go-to beverage of choice, and it resurfaces on bar menus right around the holiday season. It has a sense of nostalgia to it, a tradition that even children can take part in, theirs being a nonalcoholic version, of course.

But sometimes eggnog can also leave you scratching your noggin, wondering how you could add some modern-day flair to a very basic recipe. Luckily, you're not the only one with a desire to spice up the old with a few pinches of the new, but before we jump to some of the newer options, let's first get the traditional recipe down.

--Simple and traditional: For the standard version of eggnog, you'll want to prepare with three large mixing bowls. In the first bowl, use an eggbeater to mix a dozen egg whites. (You can also purchase this in an already separated carton.) Once they are thickened, add a full cup of sugar. In the second bowl, use the same eggbeater to whip 12 eggs, and add a few pinches of salt, also making sure the texture becomes quite thick. Mix the egg whites and the eggs together. In the third bowl, pour in 3 cups of whipping cream, and stir it until it's thick. Then add 1 tablespoon of vanilla and 2 tablespoons of sugar. To that bowl, pour in 6 to 7 cups of milk, 2 cups of rum, 1 cup of whiskey and a dash of nutmeg. Then mix together all the ingredients from each of the bowls, and chill the mixture in the fridge until ready to serve.

For a dairy-free option of the traditional recipe, try coconut or almond milk, and for an alcohol-free version, omit the booze. If you want to create gluten-free traditional eggnog, substitute a gluten-free vodka, such as Tito's, for the whiskey. It won't have the same taste, but it will definitely have the same kick.

--Chocolate eggnog: If you're a chocolate lover, then how about adding your favorite treat to your favorite holiday drink?! To save time and simplify the traditional recipe, you can purchase 2 quarts of already-prepared eggnog or repeat the steps from the first two mixing bowls above. You can melt chocolate either on your stovetop or in the microwave; if you use the microwave, make sure to stir every 15 seconds. Baking chocolate chips are generally the best for either melting method, and you can now find Enjoy Life chocolate chips, which are a dairy-free alternative, in most supermarkets, as well. Once you've heated the bag of chocolate chips, pour it into your eggnog mix and stir thoroughly before adding 1 1/2 to 2 cups of rum. Let the mixture cool before serving, and add whipped cream to the tops of the drinks if you'd like, garnishing with some cocoa powder.

--Eggless eggnog: Maybe you've always liked the idea of eggnog more than the taste of eggnog itself. Most likely, that's because you're not a huge fan of drinking eggs; totally understandable. So here's a recipe that allows you to cleverly partake in the tradition without the eggs in eggnog.

You'll want to prepare with a package of instant vanilla pudding, 1 quart of milk and a half-teaspoon of rum flavoring. Combine the pudding with a half-cup of milk. (It might be more difficult to find the dairy-free version, but check the organic section of your local grocery to see what types of dairy alternatives are offered.) Stir it, and then let it sit for several minutes. In a separate bowl, combine rum flavoring, 2 cups of rum and a pinch or two of nutmeg. Blend both bowls of ingredients together, and then chill the mixture. Top it with whipped cream before you serve.

--Gingerbread eggnog: Now this one feels like the ultimate winning combination of all things holiday. Once you've prepared the two bowls of eggnog mixture from the traditional recipe above, combine them and then add 1 ounce of gingerbread-flavored syrup and 1 cup of milk. If you want to get really fancy, a tiny gingerbread cookie can be a garnish. Make sure to create an alcohol-free version of this one for the kids; they'll absolutely love it.

As with any classic drink, you can always twist the recipe to your liking by adding a few little upgrades and spices. If you don't see a recipe that you absolutely love on this list, let it inspire you to get creative and make your own version. Because who knows? That could become the new favorite memory for your family and friends.

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