At an expat holiday party in Shanghai in the 1920s, my grandfather tasted the finest eggnog he had ever had. It took him seven years to wheedle the recipe out of the host. Once he got it, he gave an annual party on the Sunday evening following Thanksgiving to make the nog.
Game plan: For the flavors to meld, age the eggnog in the refrigerator for at least 1 week.
If you want to bottle the eggnog (before the whipped egg whites and cream are stirred in), follow the step-by-step guide in this story for bottling soda pop. Unlike the soda recipes, eggnog does not ferment (so there’s no danger of explosion); it just ages under refrigeration. The actual bottling process is the same, though.
1Place the reserved egg whites in a very clean and airtight container and freeze until the eggnog is ready to serve.
2Combine the yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until well blended and creamy.
3Add the the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
4Transfer the mixture to a 1-gallon glass jar and tightly seal the lid. (Alternatively, you can bottle it.) Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 week and up to 3 weeks.
1The night before serving, place the frozen egg whites in the refrigerator to thaw.
2When ready to serve, let the egg whites come to room temperature. Place the egg whites in the very clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a large punch bowl.
3Place the cream in the stand mixer bowl (no need to wash the bowl) and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to the punch bowl.
4Stir the eggnog base with a rubber spatula to re-combine, then add it to the punch bowl. Gently whisk the eggnog together until just combined and no large pockets of whites or cream remain (do not overwhisk or you’ll deflate the eggnog). Serve in punch cups over ice, if desired, and garnished with grated nutmeg.