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 or 1 tsp flavoring
    1&1/2 cups brandy or 1 tsp flavoring
    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

    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. 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. Strain mixture into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Stir in rum, brandy, half-and-half, vanilla and nutmeg. Refrigerate eggnog for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Just before serving, dust top of eggnog with additional nutmeg.
    Yield: 12 servings.