Aside from baking a couple of fruitcakes, wolfing down some arroz caldo, and scoping out the neighborhood Christmas lights, there’s another holiday tradition that gets my insides all warm and fuzzy: Eggnog!
I know not everyone is an eggnog enthusiast, but I suspect that’s because eggnog haters have never imbibed in the homemade stuff–’tis a shame. But to me, it wouldn’t be Christmastime if I didn’t whip up a pitcher or two of some frothy creamy nog from scratch.
And this year, I decided to stray from my usual straight-up eggnog recipe consisting of cream, milk, eggs, and a Santa-sackfull of bourbon and decided to instead Pinoy-ify my potent potable by adding coconut milk and fortifying the nog with a healthy dose of lambanog.
Oh, I’m glad you asked. Lambanog is a Filipino moonshine made from the sap of a coconut tree. Add lambanog to some coconut milk eggnog and you’ve got yourself some high-octane coconutty goodness in a glass–something I like to call LambaEggnog.
Before delving into my coconut milk eggnog recipe, let’s first take a closer look at how real Lambanog is made thanks to the following clip from Zane Lamprey’s Three Sheets show:
OK, so I don’t have access to legitimate Filipino moonshine in my neck of the woods. So I go with the next best thing: Vuqo. Vuqo is commercially made Lambanog that is produced in the Philippines and available here in the States (I got mine at a Filipino market). Altough it’s marketed here as “Coconut Vodka”, Vuqo shouldn’t be confused with coconut-flavored vodka (is there such a thing?), as it’s actually distilled from coconut sap. So technically, Vuqo really is Lambanog.
Vuqo: Commercially made moonshine
(i.e. not really moonshine)
I’ve never had lambanog before, so I can’t really judge how close Vuqo comes to the real deal. On its own though, Vuqo does have a faint (very faint) coconut aroma and a faint (very faint) coconut taste. It’s actually pretty good hooch–and it’s even better when mixed into some coconut eggnog.
My coconut eggnog is a thick and creamy concoction that uses coconut milk (obviously) along with whole milk, heavy cream, and egg yolks. Yes, it’s rich, but it is the holidays afterall. My recipe also calls for tempering and cooking the egg yolks–something eggnog purists may scoff at, but I had a bad experience with raw nog in the past, so I vowed to always cook my eggnogs.
Also, if you can’t find Vuqo or lambanog in your neck of the woods, a good rum goes nicely in this recipe as well. And this nog is darn tasty as a virgin version without booze. I actually hold off on adding any liquor to the entire batch of eggnog because the wife likes her nog sans booze, in which case I just add a chilled shot of Vuqo to my own personal serving glass–customization is king. If you like to spike the punch bowl, then you can add up to a cup of liquor (or really as much as you like) to my recipe, just be sure you taste the liquor and are certain you like the liquor before adding to the nog.
Cheers. And Maligayang Pasko!
Coconut Milk Eggnog with Lambanog (AKA LambaEggnog)
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk (preferably the Chaokoh brand)
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 whole cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Lambanog, to taste
More freshly ground nutmeg, for garnish
Combine the coconut milk, whole milk, heavy cream, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove from heat, cover pan, and allow liquid to steep for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the cinnamon stick from the mixture and discard. Return the mixture to the stove over low heat.
Meanwhile, using an electric handmixer beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl until the eggs lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar to the egg yolks and continue to beat until the sugar is completely incorporated.
Slowly whisk the warm milk mixture, one ladleful at a time, into the egg yolks, then return the entire mixture to the saucepan on the stove. Heat the mixture over medium heat and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Pour the mixture into another medium bowl and set the bowl over an ice bath. Stir the mixture and allow to cool for 10 minutes. After the mixture has cooled, whisk in the vanila extract and any liquor if desired. Pour the cooled eggnog into a pitcher or punchbowl and place in the refrigerator. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Serve by pouring eggnog into individual glasses and garnishing with freshly ground nutmeg.