12/09/2011 01:12 pm ET Updated Feb 08, 2012

Chai Eggnog

I don't know about you but when Christmas is in the air, it's time for my favorite, favorite drink.....

Can you guess what it is? It's EGGNOG! I love it, in any shape or form and prefer it sans the alcohol....most of the time.

I even love the cheap stuff right out of the gallon jug at the supermarket (I know, I know, sometimes I'm desperate) or McDonald's Eggnog Shakes. My obsession runs deep with this one.

However, several years ago I started making my own Chai Eggnog and I've never looked back. Of course Chai is another obsession, so when you combine the two...oh mercy.

This is the perfect warming drink for a cold Sunday morning, what a way to start the day.


Adapted from Cuisine at Home

15 whole cloves
4 quarter-sized pieces of fresh ginger (1/2" thick)
2 cinnamon sticks, broken up
1/2 vanilla bean, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 cup water
4 Darjeeling tea bags
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
Brandy, rum or whiskey, optional
Freshly grated or ground nutmeg

With a mortar and pestle crush fresh ginger, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, cardamom seeds, whole coriander seeds, whole black peppercorns and whole fennel seeds until coarsely ground. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, put the ginger and spices in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a meat mallet.

In a small saucepan bring spice mixture and water to a simmer. Remove from heat and add Darjeeling tea bags and steep for five minutes.

Whisk egg yolks, sugar and salt together in a saucepan while the tea is steeping. Gradually heavy cream and whole milk, whisking until smooth. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is as thick as heavy cream. If you boil this the eggnog will curdle and you will have scrambled eggs in your nog. Off heat, strain the tea into eggnog.

Serve in your favorite cup warm or chill until cold. Sprinkle ground or fresh nutmeg on top for garnish.

For those wanting to add liquor, a Tablespoon (or so) of brandy, rum or whiskey will usually be sufficient. If you are serving this warm, add liquor after straining the tea. If you are serving it cold, chill the eggnog and stir in the liquor just before serving.

Happy nogging!

- By Cathy Pollak