Should Eggnog Be Served Cold or Warm? A Comprehensive Guide to the Holiday Beverage

Eggnog, a quintessential holiday beverage, has sparked a longstanding debate: should it be served cold or warm? This comprehensive guide delves into the intricacies of eggnog, exploring its history, variations, and the factors that influence its ideal serving temperature.

A History of Eggnog

Eggnog’s origins can be traced back to medieval England, where it was known as “posset,” a warm, ale-based drink. Over time, posset evolved into eggnog, incorporating eggs, cream, and spices. By the 18th century, eggnog had become a popular holiday drink in the American colonies.

Variations on Eggnog

Eggnog recipes vary widely, but the core ingredients remain the same: milk, cream, eggs, sugar, and spices. Some variations include:

  • Classic Eggnog: A traditional recipe that emphasizes the natural flavors of the ingredients.
  • Spiced Eggnog: Infused with warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  • Rum Eggnog: A popular variation that adds a touch of rum for extra flavor and warmth.
  • Vegan Eggnog: A plant-based alternative that uses almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk instead of dairy.

Serving Temperature: Cold vs. Warm

The ideal serving temperature for eggnog depends on personal preference and the desired experience.

Cold Eggnog:

  • Pros: Refreshing, retains the natural flavors of the ingredients, and can be enjoyed as a standalone beverage or as a base for cocktails.
  • Cons: May be too cold for some palates, especially in colder weather.

Warm Eggnog:

  • Pros: Comforting, soothing, and enhances the spices’ flavors.
  • Cons: May lose some of the delicate flavors of the ingredients, and can be too heavy for some.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Serving Temperature

  • Personal Preference: Ultimately, the best serving temperature is the one that you enjoy most.
  • Ambiance: Warm eggnog can create a cozy and festive atmosphere, while cold eggnog is more refreshing and appropriate for warmer gatherings.
  • Accompanying Food: Eggnog pairs well with sweet and savory dishes. Warm eggnog complements hearty holiday meals, while cold eggnog is a refreshing accompaniment to lighter fare.

Additional Tips for Enjoying Eggnog

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: High-quality ingredients will elevate the flavor of your eggnog.
  • Chill Thoroughly: If serving cold, chill the eggnog for at least 4 hours before serving.
  • Heat Gently: If serving warm, heat the eggnog over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent curdling.
  • Garnish: Top your eggnog with whipped cream, grated nutmeg, or a cinnamon stick for extra flair.

Whether you prefer your eggnog cold or warm, this versatile beverage is a delightful addition to any holiday celebration. Experiment with different variations and serving temperatures to find the perfect combination that suits your taste and occasion. From its rich history to its endless possibilities, eggnog continues to be a cherished holiday tradition, bringing warmth, comfort, and joy to people of all ages.

Just like the drink itself, the answer to whether or not hot or cold eggnog is better is just as polarizing. On two separate forum boards, Serious Eats and Well Trained Mind, people tended to favor drinking eggnog cold. Of the 138 people who responded to the poll on Well Trained Mind, a whopping 110 of the voters said they preferred drinking their eggnog cool or cold.

Today, even food resources like Just One Cookbook (which states they usually drink eggnog cold), Food52, and Food Network have recipes for warm or hot eggnog. While there is no right or wrong answer here, keep in mind that hot eggnog could have the same warming, cozy effect that hot chocolate does while cold eggnog might cool you off next to a blazing fire. So, try the drink both ways and enjoy.

Similar to hot chocolate, eggnog is considered a traditional holiday beverage. While eggnog is a decadent holiday treat, people who are unfamiliar with the flavor may find it offensive (via Just One Cookbook). However, for those who adore it, a plethora of recipes and grocery store brands are available; some vegan-friendly substitute eggnogs, such as almond nog, are also an option. But after you’ve had your eggnog beverage, there’s another thing you need to consider: Should it be served hot or cold?

Though it seems most people prefer cold eggnog, hot eggnog might actually be the more traditional of the two options. According to Wine Enthusiast, the recipe for hot eggnog is astonishingly close to medieval recipes for a similar cocktail, posset. Posset was a warm milk punch that was popularized in Britain during the early Middle Ages.

But there is one major factor to consider when it comes to which temperature of eggnog is better. It seems the weather outside while you are drinking eggnog has a lot to do with what people prefer. Those in warmer climates appear to produce recipes that are suggested to be served cold. Others in cold climates look to make hot eggnog that warms from within, along with the help of some booze (via The Spruce Eats ).

To keep it from being too rich, I like to use a 2:1 milk to cream ratio, but if you’re in the mood for something even more decadent, feel free to add more cream. Regarding the alcohol, I used Armagnac, which is a type of brandy, but I’ve also made it with rum, bourbon, and shochu, and it works well every time. You can boil it down a little before adding the milk, cream, and sugar if you want to cut down on the alcohol while maintaining the brandy flavor.

For that reason, I devised this short recipe that yields a delightfully rich and full-bodied eggnog that isn’t overly thick or sugary. The secret is to warm all the ingredients to a piping hot temperature, whip some eggs in a blender, and then blend everything together to create a hearty, frothy drink that will definitely put you in the mood for the holidays.

Over the past century, one of those classic holiday foods, eggnog, has evolved from seasonal delicacy to culinary taboo. It has become an anachronism from a bygone era, along with jewel-speckled fruitcakes and mincemeat pie, when we didn’t think twice about eating eggs raw and cholesterol was just a curious scientific finding.

Although this eggnog is silky smooth and delicious chilled as well, you don’t have to feel compelled to drink it all at once (though it may be tempting). When consumed warm, it will beat the chilliest winter days.

Even the most devoted nog lover would be turned off by the artificially flavored travesties sold in stores these days. I’m not sure if health concerns have anything to do with eggnog’s declining popularity. Aged eggnog has been making a resurgence in the craft cocktail scene lately, but who has the time (or refrigerator space) to prepare this festive beverage in the summer to enjoy during the holidays?

AGE your raw egg eggnog

Should eggnog be served hot or cold?

Eggnog is a classic holiday drink that is enjoyed by many. One of the main debates surrounding this drink pertains to whether it is better served hot or cold. While some people may prefer their eggnog warm, others prefer it ice-cold. Both options have their pros and cons.

How to determine if boiled eggs are safe to eat?

Before actually cooking. Eggs that are fresh should sink horizontally into the water; those that are still good, but not so fresh, can be slanted at the bottom of the glass; spoiled and rotten eggs should float in the water.

What is cold eggnog?

Cold eggnog is a modern take on a classic. Chilled eggnog offers a refreshing and revitalizing experience. Ensure your eggnog is well-chilled before serving. Consider serving over ice for an extra cold treat. Perfect for festive parties and outdoor celebrations. Cold eggnog provides a delightful contrast to hearty holiday feasts.

Should eggnog be refrigerated?

Homemade raw eggnog should be kept refrigerated and served cold. If you’re planning to serve it over a period of time longer than 2 hours, keep it on ice. Serve in a punch bowl nested in ice to keep it cold. (This salad bowl would work too!) Offer smaller cups or larger 3 ounce shot glasses as most guests appreciate small samples of richer foods.

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