For a few short days every year, it is perfectly acceptable to drink creamy, booze-laced punch from a dainty cup. Especially if it’s a version of the creamy, booze-laced punch the USA’s founding father, George Washington used to serve over the holidays at Mount Vernon, his plantation house in Virginia.

If you think you don’t like eggnog, that’s probably because you’ve had only the overly sweetened cartons from the supermarket. The true version takes time and patience.

Eggnog was a British custom transported to the colonies and favoured by settlers who remained devout Anglophiles. This recipe can be traced directly to George Washington, who also had a large distillery at Mount Vernon

THE RECIPE

• 7 eggs, separated

• 7 jiggers (1 and 1/3 cups) bourbon

• 2 cups milk

• 7 Tbsp (heaping) sugar

• 1 pint heavy cream

• Nutmeg, grated, to float on top of each cup

Step 1

Using a standing or handheld mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks till they are a lemon colour.

Step 2

Gradually add bourbon to egg yolks, beating vigorously until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. At a lower speed, whisk milk into the mixture until it resembles loose custard. Although we’re a bit vague about the science, apparently the alcohol cooks the eggs (perhaps a benefit of using the classic Wild Turkey at 101 proof). The finesse is in how you add the bourbon. Pour it into a Pyrex measuring cup, then drizzle it into the yolks tablespoon by tablespoon, incorporating it very well with each addition…

Step 3

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites till stiff. Add sugar. Continue beating. Add to yolk mixture. In another bowl, beat cream till stiff. Add to mixture, folding in gradually. Store in refrigerator until serving time. You can drink it the same day you make it, but the next day the eggnog will have a luscious density with a foamy, meringue-like top, easily reincorporated by stirring with a wooden spoon. Never add ice. Always nutmeg.

So without further ado, be it with a glass of Eggnog or another favourite Christmas beverage, all of us here at Lifestyle Collective would like to wish our readers a very Merry Christmas – and raise our glasses to a wonderful New Year ahead!