A Traditional Eggnog

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  10 eggs
  250 ml (1 c.) sugar
  250 ml (1 c.) brandy
  500 ml (2 c.) light rum
  500 ml (2 c.) light cream
  1 litre (4 c.) milk 

Separate the egg whites from the yolks; beat the whites to stiff peaks with 125 ml (1/2 c.) of the sugar and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with the remaining 125 ml (1/2 c.) sugar; gradually add in all the liquids while continuing to beat the mixture;  fold in the beaten 
egg whites.  Serve warm or cold in small individual glasses.  Yield  20 cups.

A Short History of Eggnog

The thick rich beverage we call eggnog, inextricably linked with holiday celebrations, has its roots far back in renaissance Europe. It was popular in those days to concoct various punches from wine, sherry or spirits, often with the addition of milk, spices and eggs. Once English colonists began settling in the New World, they adapted their recipe to include rum, which was readily available from ships traveling from colonies in the West Indies. To seagoing men, a drink of rum diluted with water was called a "grog," (named after a certain grogram-cloak wearing admiral who watered down his sailors' rations… but I digress), so it may be that the new American pairing of rum and egg was nicknamed egg-grog.

"Nog" was also an old English word referring to strong beer, and the word may have been extended to other alcoholic drinks. And there's yet another possibility, since a "noggin" is a 17th century English word for a small mug, or a quarter-pint measure of liquor. So the word "eggnog" may have been coined to refer to an egg-based drink served in a noggin…

Eggnog was nutritious and revitalizing - a perfect drink to buck up settlers facing the rigors of life in the new world. Later on, non-alcoholic versions of eggnog were often offered to children and invalids as a tonic. But in 19th century North America, eggnog, generously fortified with rum, whisky or brandy, became firmly entrenched as a Christmas season tradition, a convivial drink set out in huge bowls and ladled into little cups for carolers, friends and whoever stopped by.

The consistency should be fairly thick, and because of its rich egg content, eggnog should be served in small quantities. Depending on regional custom, a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg can be added. Some hosts provide a little shaker of these spices next to the serving bowl so that guests can flavour the drink to their liking.
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