The Eggnog Party…

7BF94A29-9C64-447C-B51F-C08E9EF6669DWe could have called it a Fruitcake Party, though fruitcake rarely makes an appearance. We could have called it a Caroling Party. We tried that one year- no one wanted to go. Ever. Again. Come to think of it- we could have called it the Bourbon Ball. Okay, that’s a bit pretentious and we’re better at eating than dancing. The truth is- fruitcake, bourbon balls and eggnog tend to be … let’s just say- under appreciated holiday fare. For over two decades, we’ve been going to an Eggnog Party, hosted graciously in the home of friends; attended by families and friends who are loved and cherished as the ‘family we have chosen for ourselves’. It’s uniquely southern, so it’s a traditional party, with the dining room table set buffet style and yes, family china and silver makes an appearance.

7BF94A29-9C64-447C-B51F-C08E9EF6669DThe Eggnog Party is sort of an unorganized , uncategorized gathering of folks bound by generations of communal experiences. Besides the heirloom recipe for Eggnog- what makes this party so charming is the Program, the Favors and the planning for it- often months in advance. There are children of… all ages and highly anticipated by all. The Program always includes Readings for children and one or more Readings which embody the Season and always includes Music. Sometimes the program is as zany as The Sister Act, a goofy rendition of Santa Baby or an airing of jovial grievances through Festivus, which, by decree shall never be repeated again. One of our talented guests might sing Ave Maria or an old fashioned Christmas Carol which would have been introduced by a Reading of the history of the hymn – always accompanied by a classical Guitar. Last year a Reading of Dylan Thomas’s ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’…followed by the old Lullabye- ‘All Through the Night’ with a soloist, the haunting strains of soft music as the rest of us sang the sweet Chorus- that one definitely brought forth a few sweet tears. The favor that year had the theme of Angels.

Always, regardless of the theme, the program is a mix of the significance of the season and the joy of it too. Any gifts are token and quietly exchanged – to be opened later, since this party isn’t centered around gift exchange, instead its more about exclaiming, getting caught up, enjoying the program, the music and always the bubbling effervescent love and laughter. And my oh my! the food! A Christmas Ham and a thinly sliced fragrant Turkey. The sides always include a relish plate, our beloved southern casseroles, a cheese ball, roasted and salted pecans, cheese straws, tiny rolls and a buffet laden with desserts. Groaning might be a better word.

7BF94A29-9C64-447C-B51F-C08E9EF6669DOf course, there’s a silver punch bowl filled with a frothy full bodied Eggnog-

  • The creamy color of magnolias and gardenias,
  • Light as a feather plucked from an angel’s wing,
  • Thick with cream and
  • Freckled with fragrant nutmeg.

In the South, we tend to claim Eggnog as our own, since George Washington of Virginia enjoyed it and recorded a recipe for it. In the southern tradition of leaving out a critical bit- in Washington’s case he left out the number of eggs! Eggnog really isn’t southern at all- it’s British, it’s European, it’s American- yet what makes this recipe Southern is the ‘spirits’. We tend to replace ale or sherry with ‘brown whiskey’ … Kentucky Bourbon or Tennessee Whiskey- some add Rum, to honor our southern proximity to the Sugar Fields and Caribbean flavors. Take a sip of Suellen’s Eggnog and ‘darlin’ you’ll talk southern to me.’

 

7BF94A29-9C64-447C-B51F-C08E9EF6669DHere’s how you make this old classic which we know as Suellen’s Eggnog

  • 14 Large Eggs, separated
  • 1 pint Jack Daniel’s Brown Whiskey
  • 14 Tablespoons Cane Sugar
  • 1 Quart and 1/2 pint Whipping Cream

Separate eggs and reserve egg whites at room temperature. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks until pale yellow. Slowly add whiskey, one silver teaspoon at a time, at first. Increase additions of whiskey beating continually until egg yolks and whiskey are combined thoroughly. Add sugar slowly, one silver tablespoon at a time. Whip cream and add slowly to mixture. In another bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold gently into whiskey mixture. Sprinkle with fresh grated mixture. Keep thoroughly chilled. It is preferable to ladle from a silver punch bowl. Enjoy!

This Eggnog is an adaptation of an old recipe from a Talledega cookbook, one county over from where we live. *Please note that an essential tool is a silver spoon. This isn’t a pretentious tool- old recipes tend to specify silver spoons since other materials could affect the taste, generally metallic.

I’ll admit, I sip only one small punch cup, it’s a thick, rich holiday mixture unlike anything else. Eggnog is also something I taste just once a year at this amazing party. If you’re wishing you had a less spirited eggnog, I’ve had good success slowly melting homemade ice cream, adding a bit of whipped cream on top with a grating of fresh nutmeg.

7BF94A29-9C64-447C-B51F-C08E9EF6669DHere’s the thing- I’ll always associate Eggnog with the exquisite color of creamy magnolias, strengthened with the years of friendships sustained for such a long time… soft strains of music, gentle laughter, so much love, genuine acceptance, concern freely expressed and the joy only this season can bring. Here’s hoping your gatherings are as spirited as Bourbon Balls, as nutty as a Fruitcake, as fragrant as a Gardenia and full of Comfort and Joy!

Love y’all, Camellia

* All photographs are obviously mine. Eggnog contains raw eggs, it’s best to use pasteurized eggs, and it should not be consumed by children due to alcohol content.

23 thoughts on “The Eggnog Party…

  1. Dahlin, can one have party envy–if not, one can definitely have eggnog envy? The closest I ever got to a festivity like this was when my late cousin Carol (she really was my cousin–maybe second since our mothers were first cousins) used to have the extended family and friends to Christmas dinner at her house. Carol always had at least two Christmas trees, one with moon ornaments since her last name was moon and angels since she loved angels in all forms. Her pride and joy was a tree decorated in the Victorian style on a revolving stand in her living room. We had ham and turkey and chicken salad, mashed and sweet potatoes and corn pudding caserole, a variety of home made pickles, home made rolls and biscuits made by Aunt Clara, green beans, jellied and whole cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing and a groaning sideboy of desserts. I was always tasked to make fudge. I used to like to add Gran Marnier rather than vanilla. Thanks for letting me wander down memory lane and share my Virginia Beach Christmases with y’all. Hugs and Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love love! Your story and the food! This Eggnog Party is in a class all its own- the program …we can’t believe folks still participate! I wouldn’t miss it for the world! Yes…you may have party envy or start an eggnog party of your own! 🥰 Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m too lazy to host an eggnog party . The closest I would get would be to invite a few friends over for store bought eggnog, cookies and perhaps home made fudge. I don’t know if I could even get anyone to participate in a carol singalong.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love eggnog and sugar cookies as breakfast in December! Never had any “spirited” version, since we are a family of teetotalers. But your party sounds wonderful!! Merry Christmas!

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  3. Ugh, I absolutely detest eggnog. I always have even as a child. Perhaps it’s related in part to being a texture eater and I hate thick coating feel of it. The other part is that eggy taste of egg whites. I similarly hate custard and meringue due to it. However, my husband adores it fully!
    While he enjoys his eggnog, I enjoy a hot mulled wine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are not alone! After my one little cup, I’m hanging around the coffee pot, though I do like the ‘quick one’ I mentioned sans alcohol. I do, however, love this party! The people, the program, the favors, the food… Eggnog isn’t really the main event – it’s just one of the quirky details. 🌲🌲🌲

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I’m totally trying to think up a cute (mot egg nog) party name so I can have one too! Lol I did think the Bourbon Ball was a darling name though ( but I’m not a bourbon fan either. Lol) a cute name for a hot cocoa party would be more my speed. Hahaha

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