Early American Eggnog
I did not follow this exact recipe but it is identical, except for the alcohol types, to our family recipe that I learned from my grandfather. I tend to like rum and/or brandy but I have never used the sherry and do not care for whiskey as much. The effect of the curing, if you put the alcohols in, is that after 5 days the bacteria that might have existed have been killed and over time the alcohol cooks the egg and dairy proteins, changing them into a smooth, thick and frothy (from all the beating) indulgence. I like to let mine cure with a little cinnamon, fresh nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves actually mixed in then top with a sprinkle of fresh ground nutmeg when served.
I have seen other recipes where it is cured with cinnamon stick, vanilla bean and a little fresh ground nutmeg. The cinnamon stick and vanilla bean can then be easily removed when serving having already imparted their flavors. We have broken open jars of cured eggnog a couple months after the holidays to find them wonderful treats but have never managed to be able to save them longer than that as it is just too good to leave alone.
Even with all the alcohol in it, I imagine that something could go wrong during the curing process—though it never has for me so far—and if you open a jar of cured eggnog that seems off or has a bad smell then it is wise to not partake of that batch. With canning, pickling, and curing food products you should always be aware of the possibility that the process can go bad.
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Jan. 1, 2014