Holiday Egg Nog Steals the Show

Grandpa egg nog

Grandpa’s traditional egg nog served at his house in Connecticut

By Carolyn Worthington

Christmas is here, and the traditional holiday recipes are in the works. For some, the Feast of the Seven Fishes, the Christmas Eve meal, takes center stage. The holiday won’t be the same without the classic frosted sugar cookies, Buche de Noel, fruit cake, German Stollen, and more.

Growing up, Christmas at our house meant egg nog made by my father. He made two batches, one with liquor and one without for the children.

We were lucky to celebrate Christmas with my parents at their home until my mother passed away, reaching almost 100 years of age. My Dad carried on for four more years as a vibrant, active person still driving, working out at the gym, cooking and making his famous egg nog. My parents were the poster couple of successful aging. Perhaps it was the joy of family, their upbeat spirit, and their embrace of tradition.

The traditions my parents shared with the family are still going strong in my family. While preparing the memoir for my father, I read many of his World War II letters to my mother. I discovered Dad’s special egg nog that we enjoyed every Christmas had its genesis in Dad’s army days and most likely from his own father, who served it at his annual open house each Christmas Eve in Los Angeles.

On December 27, 1943, my Dad wrote in one love letter to my mother,

“Dear Babe, …. Christmas day I
promoted eggs, milk, sugar & nutmeg.
With this I made a gallon of egg
nog. Very good stuff even if I say so
myself. Sorry I couldn’t have given
you some, so I poured a glass for you
and drank it for you.”

I also read that he was in a bit of trouble when he left the base to get his egg nog ingredients! But that’s another story.

Following my parents’ tradition, we always make egg nog, with one of my sons taking up the torch in the preparation. I remember my mother saying to him when he was in college and wanted the recipe:

“Now, Michael, follow the recipe exactly. Don’t pour in more liquor because you will ruin it.” I think she was really afraid it would be too potent for the college kids. But she was right – too much alcohol does ruin the flavor!

Here is John Worthington’s famous egg nog. Enjoy!


(AKA “Classic Worthington Egg Nog” or “Worthington Holiday Egg Nog”)
(Makes about 12 – 18 servings, 4 to 6 oz. each)

1 dozen eggs, separated
½ cup sugar plus ½ cup sugar to be added to egg yolks
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup milk
½ cup Seagrams 7
¼ cup good quality Rum (like Mt. Gay)

Beat egg whites until they begin to thicken – add first ½ cup sugar before the whites become stiff. Continue beating until stiff (when the beater is lifted, small peaks form – that’s when you know it’s stiff).

In a separate bowl, beat yolks with the remaining ½ cup sugar until combined (don’t overbeat); stir in the heavy cream, milk, Seagrams 7, and rum until combined. (Less is more on the booze – too much makes it taste bitter).

Fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture. Use a spatula and stir gently from the bottom to the top, turning the bowl as you go so you are scooping up the egg yolk mixture from the bottom and turning it over onto the whites. Keep doing this until the egg yolk mixture is incorporated, but don’t overdo it so the egg whites lose their “air.”

Pour into punch bowl (around 2.5 quart size). Place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice cubes to keep the egg nog chilled as you serve.

Sprinkle a little nutmeg over the top – and voila!

(Rather than doubling the ingredients, make in two batches if you want more, or it will be unwieldy in the bowl and probably not come out right).

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