The Very Best Eggnog, Ever

1 quart milk
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split
5 cloves
10 blades of mace
12 egg yolks
1&1/2 cups sugar
1&1/2 cups dark rum
1&1/2 cups brandy
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 quart of "half-and-half"*
    or 1 quart of light cream
    or 1 cup of heavy cream plus 3 more cups of milk
freshly grated nutmeg to taste

  1. Combine milk and spices including vanilla bean in a heavy saucepan and let them infuse over lowest possible heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until mixed.
  2. Bring milk to a boil and gradually whisk it into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring steadily with a wooden spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until foam subsides and mixture thickens to consistency of heavy cream. (Mixture should thickly coat the back of a wooden spoon.) Do not boil, or mixture will curdle.
  3. Strain mixture into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Stir in rum, brandy, half-and-half, vanilla and nutmeg.
  4. Refrigerate eggnog for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Just before serving, dust top of eggnog with additional nutmeg.

Yield: 12 servings.

This Eggnog recipe is from the NY Times, 12/27/89.
Please don't drink and drive, or you'll ruin any of the benefits of this recipe.

*Editorial Note: "half-and-half" is actually misleadingly labelled;
  it is NOT a mixture of half cream and half milk, but it is equal
  in butterfat content to a mixture of 1/4 cream and 3/4 milk.

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