This beverage is synonymous with the holidays and our simple recipe makes it a tradition worth bringing back.
In a large saucepan, whisk together eggs and sugar until well combined. Whisk in milk. Add cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, mace and cloves; place over medium heat and whisk gently for about 10 minutes or until mixture has small bubbles around the edge of pan and thermometer reaches 160ºF (71ºC).
Remove from heat and pour through fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Whisk in rum (if desired) and cover with plastic wrap, directly on surface, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
In a bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Dollop each cup of egg nog with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
Gingerbread Egg Nog: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add in 1/4 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of espresso powder, and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, stirring together until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a slight boil and remove from heat. Let cool completely.
In a bowl, add the eggnog, espresso, brown sugar and water mixture, 2 tablespoons of molasses, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, whisking everything together until combined. The mixture should look darker in colour, but still a light brown.
To serve, add crushed ice to glass, add gingerbread eggnog mixture until glass is filled and follow with whipped cream. For additional garnish, crush a few gingersnap cookies and add atop of whipped cream.
Chocolate Egg Nog: Whisk in ½ cup (125 mL) high quality cocoa powder to egg and sugar mixture and continue with recipe.
Maple Ginger Egg Nog: Omit granulated sugar and substitute ½ cup (125 mL) pure maple syrup. Add 1 inch (2.5 cm) piece fresh peeled ginger, thinly sliced or 2 tsp (10 mL) ground ginger with cinnamon sticks and continue with recipe.
Chai Egg Nog: Add 10 crushed green cardamom pods and 6 black peppercorns with cinnamon sticks and continue with recipe.
Tip: If you don't have ground mace you can substitute ¼ tsp (1 mL) ground allspice in the recipe.