Few drinks invoke the spirit of holidays as profoundly as eggnog. Be it homemade or packaged, the propagation of this iconic beverage is a clear sign of the coming holidays season. But what does eggnog taste like?
Eggnog tastes like sweet, melted ice cream, with a touch of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. The eggs in eggnog are there to add a frothy texture and make the concoction thicker and creamier. So, despite the name, eggnog barely tastes like eggs.
Of course, the key to the taste lies in the ingredients you use. So, in this article, we will go over the common ingredients in eggnog, what they do for the taste profile, and how you can tweak the recipe to suit your palate.
Does Eggnog Taste Good?
People who are unaware of this drink or have never tried it will most likely take cues from the name alone. So, the initial impression may be that it is a protein-rich drink with a strong eggy taste.
But the reality is much different. Good eggnog will hardly have an eggy taste. Even if you do find a hint of its presence when drinking, it will not be overpowering. Rather a gentle reminder of its presence. This is because eggs are not the star performer in eggnogs.
Instead, the milk or cream is the predominant flavor, with the spice making up a solid yet subdued background presence. And since eggnog is often served cold or in the winter season, many have described its taste as similar to melted ice cream. To be more precise, Vanilla ice cream, as many recipes utilize vanilla extracts.
In terms of spice, cinnamon and nutmeg are the most common. So, their presence is definitely palpable. And depending on what sort of alcoholic beverage you decide to use, your eggnog is going to taste accordingly.
Eggnogs have a rich, creamy, and pretty heavy texture. This heaviness is partly down to the cream and partly to the beaten egg yolk. But to prevent the mixture from feeling overly dense, people put in whipped egg whites. This gives it a frothy and airy texture, which lifts the overall feel of this drink.
Now, some people have compared the taste of eggnog to bubblegum. This is probably down to the fact that eggnog has such a dense milky flavor. This can throw off some people from trying this holiday brew. But for the majority, the bubblegum taste is either not present or not a substantial concern.
Nonetheless, since many households enjoy this beverage during the holiday season, you can say that eggnog tastes good.
What Does Eggnog Smell Like?
Once again, eggnogs do not smell like their name suggests it would. It does not have the smell of a boiled or fried egg.
Rather, eggnog has a spicy and milky fragrance. And if the eggnog contains vanilla extracts, it will smell remarkably similar to vanilla ice cream with a hint of spice. The presence of the alcohol may also come through depending on its concentration.
What Does Eggnog Have in It?
There are so many variations of the classic formula. You can have two eggnogs that taste strikingly dissimilar, even though they are the same holiday drink. But for the most part, the few core ingredients remain the same throughout its many iterations.
For starters, you need eggs. The next on the list are sugar, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, a pinch of salt, rum or brandy and whipped cream for decoration.
You need at least half a dozen eggs to make the same number of servings. The yolk gives the mixture a rich and heavy feel, while the white is there for the foam.
The egg yolks are separated from the whites first and kept separately. Then the yolk is beaten with sugar. The whites are whipped to make a foamy texture and then it is folded into the final mixture.
But, contrary to what its name implies, eggs are not the star of the show here; at least not in terms of flavor or smell. The main flavor and texture come from milk and/or cream. Some recipes call for both, while others can make do with just one. Milk and cream are essential for giving bulk, taste, and texture to the blend.
As this is a sweetened milk drink, you need plenty of sugar. To counteract the sweetness and get a fine balance, people use various spices. Cinnamon and nutmeg are the common choices. But you can use ginger or pumpkin spice. A touch of salt can elevate the entire drink.
The other major element in this blend is alcohol. You can pick whatever alcohol of your choosing. Traditional eggnogs utilized rum or whiskey. Brandy is a very popular choice as well.
Of course, you can make a non-alcoholic version of the drink. This is a great choice for making eggnog that both kids and adults can enjoy. You can also top the drink with whipped cream if you like.
How to Make Eggnog Taste Better?
Classic eggnog is pretty easy to make. All you require are eggs, milk, cream, salt, sugar, and some spices. These are more than enough to get in the spirit of the season.
But if you are looking to spruce up your drink and add more flavor, you can add some additional ingredients. This can make for a brand new experience, especially if you are tired of the same old eggnog recipe. So, here are some tricks to give new life to your eggnog recipe.
The smell can be a powerful influencer when it comes to drinks. And vanilla extract just go so well with the taste of eggnogs. We have already mentioned how this drink tastes like melted ice cream. Well, with a couple of teaspoons of vanilla and your brain will be entirely fooled into thinking that you are drinking ice cream in winter.
The whipped egg whites add much-needed air to the mixture, making it light and frothy. This helps to cut through the heavy milk cream. So, do you know what makes whipped eggs even better? Whipped cream on top, of course!
Whipped cream is notorious for making pretty much any drink that much tastier. Add a nice amount of whipped cream to the top of your holiday brew and you have yourself a delicious, foamy drink to appease anyone.
Swap Milk with Buttermilk
Try replacing part of the milk in your eggnog recipe with buttermilk. It goes particularly well with some lemon zest to tangy the drink.
If you are looking for a more savory flavor profile in your eggnog, try a pumpkin-based blend. You can use either homemade or canned pumpkin puree for this purpose. This goes really well with the spices and some dark rum or brandy.
If you are wondering as to what alcohol to use, go ahead and use scotch for your eggnog. The smokiness of scotch perfectly suits light brown sugar, making for very sweet and rich eggnog. Or you can cut out the extra ingredients and just add butterscotch schnapps to the mix.
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Melted, warm chocolate with the creamy, vanilla-scented, eggnog – it just sounds too sinful yet so alluring.
Add some melted chocolate with the milk to form the base. Then at the end, you can shave some dark chocolate on top to cut through all that richness. The chocolate shavings with a pinch of cinnamon and ground chili are truly a devilish combination.
If you are looking for more spice in your life (and your drink), then look no further than gingersnap eggnog. You need half a cup of ginger liquor to add to the blend.
Alternatively, you can grind gingersnap cookies into powder and sprinkle them on top. Or you can make eggnog by incorporating both elements together.
What Is Similar to Eggnog?
With its widespread popularity spanning centuries, it is no surprise that this much-beloved drink has seen its fair share of variations. And here we are going to highlight some drinks around the world that will give you a similar feeling of warmth and richness.
Also known as the “Mexican eggnog,” rompope is a spiced, egg-based drink. It is found throughout Mexico pretty much year-round, with people drinking it in the celebration of many occasions. The difference between rompope and eggnog is that eggnog is served warm, while rompope is poured on ice.
Here is another concoction of eggs, rum, and vanilla flavoring, this time from the Latin cuisine of Puerto Rico. The twist here is in the name. The word “coquito” means “little coconut” in Spanish. This refers to coquito’s use of coconut milk instead of farm milk as its base.
The Dutch have their own version of eggs, sugar, and alcohol. In this case, the alcohol is brandy. The final product has a custard-like taste, with a creamy and smooth texture. It is mass-produced commercially throughout the Netherlands and in other parts of the world through export.
How Did Eggnog Become a Christmas Tradition?
It is no surprise to see the influx of eggnogs on store shelves as soon as the holidays start. In fact, you can view this as one of the key signs that the season for joy is among us. Certainly, in America and Canada, eggnogs are a staple of this time of the year. But how did it come to be like this?
According to many historians, the eggnog is derived from a medieval British drink called “posset.” But the modern version that is so unambiguously tied to Christmas did not become popular until the 1700s.
At this time, the Americans started to adopt their version of this drink. Farmlands covered most of the land. As such, eggs, milk, and cheap whiskey were very common in many households. Even George Washington, the very first president of the United States, had his own recipe for eggnog (though he failed to specify just how many eggs to add).
Ever since then, the drink has become a staple, particularly during the holidays. As the warm temperature, spicy flavor, and rich texture fit perfectly with the cold atmosphere of winter, and eggnog found itself as a centerpiece during Christmas time. In Puerto Rico, this drink is called “coquito”, and it uses coconut milk and rum as its base.