drink tank

A NOD TO NOG

Make your own batch of the creamy beverage this holiday season.

WRITTEN BY ERIN MEYERING
PHOTOS BY SHAUN HUNTER

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What’s in a good holiday nog? Milk, eggs, vanilla, sugar, spice, everything nice … Oh, and lots of heavy cream.

Whether you’re drinking eggnog right out of the refrigerator, sipping a warm cup while snuggling by the fire, or using it as a milk substitute when baking, this is the season to indulge in its many pleasures.

In the late 17th century, the term nog referred to a style of strong beer brewed in East Anglia, and noggin was a small cup or mug for nog. Egg-based drinks such as eggnog gained popularity in American colonies because most families had access to cows for milk, chickens for eggs, and a healthy stash of rum.

These days, whether you’re getting your eggs from your backyard coop or the local co-op, crafting your perfect eggnog can be one of your holiday traditions.

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Make it your own

Sam Francovich, owner of Reno-based Francovich Distillers, is a seasoned expert. The company’s recipe for its Original Holiday Nog was created five generations ago and remains free of artificial flavoring and preservatives. Although Francovich stands by his Original Holiday Nog (available October through December in various grocery stores throughout the region), he says making your own can be pretty satisfying as well.

Sometimes taking a well-known dish and converting its recipe for home cooks can leave you with a pale version of the original. Eggnog, however, doesn’t lose its wow factor when crafted at home because the recipe is so simple.

In fact, making it yourself allows you to spice it up, enhancing its flavor. You can also experiment with different types of sugar, such as powdered or coconut.

“Eggnog is a holiday cocktail,” Francovich says. “If you add anything, I would add more bourbon and more rum.”

Erin Meyering is the associate editor of edible Reno-Tahoe magazine. Although she’s normally not an eggnog fan, she’s looking forward to tasting it homemade and sharing a glass with friends and family.

Recipe

Classic Eggnog

(courtesy of Sam Francovich, owner, Francovich Distillers and The Grill in Reno. Makes 2 gallons)

1¼ gallons whole milk

15 egg yolks (Reserve the whites for scrambles or meringue — eggs whites will keep for up to a year in the freezer.)

4 cups heavy cream

1¼ tablespoons cinnamon

¾ tablespoon nutmeg

½ tablespoon real vanilla extract

¾ to 1¼ pounds granulated sugar (according to taste)

4 cups bourbon

¼ bottle of rum (about 6½ ounces, or more to taste)

In large bowl, whip egg yolks until creamy. Add sugar, spices, and heavy cream, and mix thoroughly.

In larger container, combine milk, bourbon, and rum. Then stir in egg mixture. Enjoy!

Note: Best made with fresh spices and high-quality vanilla extract. Refrigerate eggnog to prevent bacteria from growing.

“We have a saying in the dairy business,” Francovich says. “Life begins at 40 [degrees F].” 

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