In my family, you could not begin any Christmas festivities—not even tree decorating—until Grandaddy had rolled into your driveway in his boat of a car (taking down some of your border plants in the process) to deliver his special, homemade concoction. It would be one thing if it was just regular eggnog, but my grandfather had a penchant for impromptu bartending, and this eggnog was souped-up with brandy and rum—lots of it. Only after its arrival and consumption could you proceed with putting the lights on the tree. We still toast him to this day with the same recipe, many generations down the line.



6 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
½ pint brandy
½ pint rum
2 pints heavy whipping cream


Beat egg yolks well. Add granulated sugar slowly, then add just enough of the cream to give the mixture a pale lemon color. Add the brandy and rum, stirring while the liquor is poured in. Whip the remaining cream and add to the mixture. Whip egg whites until stiff and fold in powdered sugar, then fold—do not beat—into the mixture.