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Originally published December 10, 2010 at 4:01 PM | Page modified December 12, 2010 at 8:51 AM

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Familiar eggnog gets a tasty makeover

Melissa Clark shares a recipe for a butterscotch eggnog, made smoky and rich with Scotch and brown sugar.

The New York Times

I didn't grow up with eggnog, but when I met my first glass, I felt like we had been friends forever. It tasted like a spiked crème Anglaise, the kind of liquid custard meant to be drizzled over fruit or cake. I partook whenever it was served.

Then a few years ago a cocktail-buff friend mentioned that the very best nogs were made from raw eggs. Because of salmonella scares, the eggnogs I'd tasted were either poured from a carton or made with cooked custard. But since I was not pregnant, very old or very young, and was strongly tempted by the promise of an eggnog more superb than anything else I had sipped, I decided to give it a go. I went home and whipped up a batch using a classic recipe with beaten eggs, cream, brandy and bourbon.

It was better than any eggnog I'd tasted before, less eggy and brighter in flavor. Thanks to the addition of the beaten egg whites, the texture was mousse-like while still being rich and semi-liquid. You could drink it, but a spoon worked even better.

When November rolled around, I already had a list of variations I wanted to try, including one made with coconut milk that my husband, who avoids dairy products, could drink, and a butterscotch one.

I tried out the latter on my family at Thanksgiving, following the directions per my usual recipe but substituting brown sugar for the white. Also, I liked the way butterscotch Scotch eggnog sounded, so I used Scotch whisky in lieu of the bourbon.

The smoky Scotch made the eggnog more complex and gave it a savory taste, which went nicely with the caramelized flavor of the brown sugar. It was a whole new take on an old friend, and a delicious one at that.

Editor's note: This recipe uses raw eggs. If you or guests have health concerns, use a recipe with cooked eggs or buy a commercial eggnog made with pasteurized eggs.

BUTTERSCOTCH SCOTCH EGGNOG

Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

12 large eggs, separated

1 cup dark brown sugar

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2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus pinch

2 cups whole milk

1 cup smoky Scotch whisky

½ cup brandy

2 cups heavy cream

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

Grated nutmeg

1. In a large bowl, combine the yolks, brown sugar, vanilla and ½ teaspoon salt. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed until thick and dark golden, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly drizzle in the milk, Scotch and brandy. Transfer to the freezer to chill while preparing the rest of the eggnog. (Or refrigerate for at least 2 hours before completing.)

2. In a medium bowl, whip the cream on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Set aside. In another medium bowl, using clean beaters, whip the egg whites and pinch of salt on medium-high speed, adding the sugar by tablespoons until soft peaks form.

3. When ready to serve, pour the yolk mixture into a large punchbowl. Fold in a small amount of whipped cream to lighten it, then fold in the remaining cream. Fold in the egg whites. Generously dust the top with nutmeg; serve immediately.

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