Have you ever had real eggnog? If your answer is "yes*" (*it came in a box), then the answer is no. No, you have not.
Some people believe in fate. Some people believe we were put on Earth for a specific purpose. Myself, I feel like I must embark on a personal spirit quest every Christmas to educate people about the commercial Nog Formerly Known as Egg, which is a whole lot of (????) filled with artificial flavourings, carcinogens, seaweed thickeners, and additives. Eggnog no longer contains any egg, and is allowed to label itself as eggnog with less than 1% dairy in it.
If you don't believe me, take your own spiritual quest to the grocery store aisle and have a look at the ingredient label. Just make sure you fast beforehand.
I steadfastly maintain that this is why there is decline in the drink's popularity, because real eggnog is FRICKIN' DELICIOUS, man.
REAL. EGGNOG. IS. AMAZEBALLS. PERIOD.
I have a how-to on making enough (real) eggnog for a Christmas party (like a boss). But maybe you don't want that much. Maybe you only want a little. Maybe you want only just enough eggnog to bake cookies with, or to make Majia's make-ahead Eggnog French Toast (made 139% more awesome with the power of eggnog that has eggs in it).
Maybe you love eggnog (even the fake stuff) everyone else is like "Eeewuh, I don't like eggnog!"
Or worse, maybe they're like "Omigaw, no way! I won't drink! Raw eggs cause salmonella!" (Even though odds of a contaminated egg be approximately 1:20,000.)
So what if I told you I could teach you how to make one cup of eggnog... in under 10 minutes?
What if I told you it could be made safely, with pasteurized egg in it?
And yes, this is entirely possible. Egg yolks begin to coagulate (turn thick and rubbery) somewhere roughly between 149-158°F (I actually get a different answer every place I try to get a definitive number)... but on two things all the various sites agree: 1) at 140°F, salmonella bacteria begins to die, and 2) in commercial settings, egg is considered pasteurized after being held at this temperature for about 3.5 minutes.
It's difficult (if not impossible) for an individual to be sure that they've held a whole egg, still in shell, at the correct internal temperature for 3.5 minutes. But we don't have to hold the whole egg to 140F. We only need a single yolk, scrambled, and brought slowly up to the point that it begins to thicken, which is considerably hotter than the temperature required to kill bacteria. With hot milk, slow heating, and continuous whisking, the egg cooks through like a custard, without forming large clumps of scrambled egg.
Oh, and if for some reason you like the taste of rum, but you don't want all the fun side effects that come along with it? Use a couple of drops of rum extract.
Heat the cream in a cup in the microwave for 90-120 seconds, until steamy and frothy. In a small saucepan, whisk the egg yolk and the sugar till the yolk turns a light shade of yellow.
Temper the egg yolk by adding the very hot cream in a slow drizzle to the saucepan and the egg, whisking continuously. Turn the heat on to medium low under the saucepan, and continue whisking for another 3-5 minutes, until the cream mixture thickens slightly, but before it begins to simmer.
Remove the saucepan from heat immediately and set on a hot pad. Whisk the vanilla and alcohol in with a dash each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour eggnog through a small sieve (if small curds have formed near the edge of the pan) into a large mug.
Cover and refrigerate eggnog until chilled, or up to a day. Serve garnished with more nutmeg, if desired.