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How long does it take for eggnog to get bad?



  Puerto Rican Christmas Dessert - Eggnog
Didriks Flickr

Nothing shares a Christmas party like an eggnog. Some love it, others hate it. Suppose you make a pile for Christmas, but you are inadvertently in a group of Nog Loathers. How long can you keep the brew loaded with dairy products? It depends on how much alcohol you have added.

In 2009, we listened to Science Friday a story about the microbiologists at Rockefeller University Vince Fischetti and Raymond Schuch, who described the salmonella levels in Dr. Lutz's oratory. Rebecca Lancefield tested recipe that has been refrigerated since Thanksgiving in the fridge. They had added a bunch of salmonella and tested after one, two and three weeks. The longer the eggnog sat, the fewer bacteria were present until it was completely sterile in the third week.

But the aging process kills more than just bacteria: it makes the Nog less uncomfortable. The year after we heard the SciFri episode, we did our own ̵

1; though we did not have the lab equipment to test the germ count. We admit that maybe we tasted one or two glasses before the three weeks (live dangerously), and we've found that this is a pretty potent potion. Part of the taste of the liquor seemed to evaporate as Christmas went around, but we never did it again. We prefer the egg liqueur recipe from Mary Meade, which one of our fathers made before we were born.

Booze it up

But Mary's Mellower Brew is high enough to kill bacteria that might have rumbled in the eggs? First, our father leaves his eggnog to sit just a day or two before serving – which would not be enough time to really harm the salmonella, the Rockefeller experiment found. No matter what, we play with delicious fire. But if you want to age your nog and do not want to fall back on Lancefield's recipe, Cook's Illustrated has worked out a formula that you can match to your family's favorites: use 1.5 ounces of 80 percent liquor for each egg Do not add dairy until you are ready to serve. The volumetric alcohol is initially charged to achieve sterilization and decreases to about 14 percent after the addition of the cream.

Meade's recipe uses a cup of rum, a cup of Grand Marnier and half a cup of brandy. That's 20 ounces of alcohol on six eggs. That means, even if your brandy is not a proof, the recipe meets the requirements of 19459011 by Cook's Illustrated (assuming your Grand Marnier and Rum are of course a proof of 80).

The FDA warns that putting it on alcohol is risky and wants you to use pasteurized eggs or cook them first. Safety first, of course (salmonella is not something you do not want to do), but we'll give you a link to Michael Ruhlman, who told the story after drinking the two-year advocaat.






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