Raise a glass of eggnog, a quintessentially seasonal tipple
Eggnog, or vov, as it’s known in Italy, is a traditional Christmas drink in many parts of the world. The word ‘vov’ comes from the Venetian word for egg. It’s made like other eggnogs with milk or cream, egg yolks, brandy and sugar, but also contains marsala, so it’s a sort of liquid zabaglione.
Makes 1.5 litres
1 vanilla pod
1 litre full fat milk
6 egg yolks
250g granulated sugar 200ml marsala
2 x 750ml clean, dry bottles and stoppers
1 Slit open the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and put the seeds and the pod in a pan with the milk and bring gently to simmering point, whisking from time to time.
2 Put the egg yolks in a second pan with the sugar and the marsala and beat well. When the vanilla milk is hot but not boiling, stir it into the egg-yolk mixture.
3 Put the pan on medium heat and warm through gently, whisking all the while. Do not let the mixture boil as it will curdle. The mixture is ready when it starts to thicken. If it shows any sign of curdling or separating, take off the heat and whisk hard.
4 Strain with a sieve into a pan or measuring jug, add the brandy, leave to cool and bottle using a funnel. Keep for two days before serving, warm or cold. Store in the fridge and shake before pouring.
Variations: The original vov recipe is made with 90% proof liqueur spirit rather than brandy; if you try this, add another 100g sugar. You can also try a brandy-only version, using the same amount of brandy but omitting the marsala, and topping with grated nutmeg.
Recipes and images taken from Artisan Drinks by Lindy Wildsmith, photography by Kevin Summers (Jacqui Small, £25)