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The world’s best eggnog. December 25, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in recipes.
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Our friend Ben has found that most people either passionately hate or love eggnog. (This is true of only a few other foods, such as liver, beets, sauerkraut, rutabagas, or, say, fruitcake.) But here at Hawk’s Haven, eggnog is a cherished Christmas tradition; it just wouldn’t be Christmas without the famous Simms Family Eggnog. Even if you hate what you’ve been raised to think of as eggnog, please read on; I’m going to give you every reason to change your mind.

This eggnog is not for the faint-hearted. One sizeable mugful and you’ll start shouting “Ho, ho, ho!” But oh, mercy, it is good. One of the rituals of my childhood was my Grandaddy Simms ceremoniously concocting the eggnog in a huge crockery bowl, then setting it out on the freezing-cold back porch to let the bourbon work its potent magic. Watching him bring the bowl back inside, carefully stir the contents, and then distribute mugs all ’round (tiny silver baby cups for the kids, much to our outrage) made me feel that Christmas had indeed arrived and all was right with the world. Each Christmas, as I make and share this beloved treat with family and friends, I still feel just that way.

Each Christmas, I also find myself making my family eggnog more and more often. That’s because someone has only to taste it to insist that Silence Dogood and I bring it to their next Christmas party or gathering. (It’s gotten to the point where Silence and I now take turns making batches for friends, family and neighbors. Sheesh! And you thought cookie exchanges were bad.)

This goes for lifelong eggnog haters, too. Our friend Ben can’t blame people who grew up with that slippery, slimy, nutmeg-flavored fluid that passes for eggnog for hating the awful stuff. Ugh!!! I can’t tell you how many people have told us over the years that they hate eggnog. Then they see this eggnog. They smell this eggnog. They pick up a spoon (yes, it’s too thick to drink, you have to eat it with a spoon) and taste this eggnog. They ask for more eggnog to take home. And the next holiday season, when they invite us over, they say “And please bring your eggnog!”

We may not be able to come to your Christmas get-together this year, though we’ll doubtless be present in spirit. But you can still enjoy mugs of Simms Family eggnog—it’s incredibly easy to make!—and raise a toast to the Christmas spirit.

Simms Family Kentucky Eggnog

1 cup sugar

6 eggs, separated

1 quart heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 cups 100 proof bourbon whiskey

Beat 6 egg yolks and 2/3 cup of the sugar until lemon yellow. Add bourbon slowly, stirring to blend. (I use a fork for this.) In a separate, very large bowl, beat 6 egg whites with remaining 1/3 cup sugar until stiff but not dry. In a third large bowl, beat cream stiff. Slowly add the bourbon/egg yolk mixture into the whipped egg whites, drizzling it in and folding gently to blend. Fold in whipped cream and chill overnight. To serve, fold eggnog again gently from the bottom—the bourbon tends to separate out—and spoon into mugs. Serve with spoons for eating.

Note: Yes, this eggnog does contain raw eggs. That’s why you must use 100-proof bourbon, even if (as we do) you have to buy a bourbon that’s not your usual brand to find one in 100 proof. (Most bourbon is 80 proof.) The high alcohol content of 100-proof bourbon “cooks” the eggs so no greeblies can get you. Our family has been serving this eggnog to hundreds of people for at least four generations, and no one has ever gotten ill from eating it. Admittedly, my grandaddy added an entire pint of 100-proof bourbon to his version, but that’s a bit more of the Christmas spirit than we find we can stand. A cup and a half does it for us. Enjoy!