Eggnog. In a mug.

(on the warming magic & merits of cinnamon)

For a week we experimented with keeping the heating on all the time. It was nearing 40 degrees in Los Angeles and living in Southern California for any length of time does something to your temperature tolerance. That is, it destroys it. But having the heating on all the time didn’t work. Not one bit. We’d both wake up every morning with dry skin and sore throats and stuffy noses. So after that week, we went back to putting it on for a few hours in the morning. While the rest of the world is still asleep, I’ll wake up, and shiver my way downstairs to throw the heating on then run back upstairs and jump under the covers until the house is a little warmer. When it’s an acceptable temperature I’ll resume my morning activities which include hot drinks, fluffy blankets and cold doorsteps.

At times like these, spices comes in really handy. Because having something bubbling away on the stove sending the scent of cinnamon and spice and sweetness into the air is a really nice way to warm up a space without getting dried out. Not only that, but it makes it feel like winter when it’s sunny outside and doesn’t look like winter at all.

I was chatting on Skype with my teenage sister in law the other day. She was asking about cinnamon and what it does medicinally, as it’s her favorite smell. I told her about how cinnamon warms the body. How it helps with circulation issues like cold fingers and toes. How it helps with the ups and downs of too much caffeine and too much sugar. And how it’s astringent– it stops bleeding, stops leaking, balances out imbalance. She laughed and said that it sounded like exactly what she needed, and I pointed out that people often gravitate towards what they need…

Sometimes with cinnamon, I feel like having it in the air, it works this way on spaces too. Mulled wine bubbling away on the stove warms up the cold corners, and halts the cool breeze from sneaking in under the door. A dash of cinnamon in your coffee in the morning both helps you respond to the caffeine better, and also helps with the mucus-y feeling people often get from too much dairy. A sprinkle of cinnamon on your blueberries and cream help to balance out your blood sugar. Considering the big creamy lattes I like to drink and my nervy-body, I’m really grateful for cinnamon most mornings…

And in the evenings lately, I’ve been making a quick-nog. Admittedly, until about a week ago, I’d never had eggnog before. I didn’t know until a few days later that most people drink it cold. I can’t fathom the idea of drinking something creamy and iced when it’s so cold outside, so I carried on making mine warm. Eggnog, my friends, is my new favourite thing. Between the creaminess and the spices and that dash of rum, it feels like sipping on a thick milky delicious cloud. I said ‘dash’ of rum, because my alcohol tolerance is like that of a child, and I don’t like being drunk, I just like the taste of it. The first night I added what was more like a glug, and I woke up with a headache the next morning. Now, I remind myself that it might LOOK like a warm milkshake but it is an alcoholic drink and that if I keep drinking them with a glug every night people might start getting worried, especially if I end up on Facebook telling everyone how much I love them (this happens, pretty much every time).

One more thing. It’s very nutritious. If this information will ruin it for you, stop reading here and just go make it (or wait till 5pm and make it?). But between the milk and cream, the egg yolks and the spices, you’ve got yourself a nutritional powerhouse, made from superfoods that you don’t need to import from Brazil or a small Pacific Island. Considering how worn out, stressed and exhausted most of us are at this time of year, I’d even go so far as to say that it’s medicinal :). So go and take your medicine please, and then get on Facebook and tell me how much you love it.


Serves 1. Multiply quantities for more.

1 egg yolk

1 cup milk

1/2 cup cream

1/4 tsp of grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon and cardamom combined

1 tb sugar (I use sucanat- it adds more flavour I think, but you can use regular sugar in a pinch)

2 tb spiced rum (if you’re like me make it 1-2 tsp)- see below, or just buy it

Warm the milk and cream on the stove. Don’t bring it to a boil or anything, just very hot. Remove from the stove, add the spices, the sugar and the booze. With a whisk, whipping it steadily, add the egg yolk, then put it back on low heat until it thickens just a tiny bit.

Serve in a big mug with a fluffy blanket and maybe even an elf hat.


Make your own spiced rum: 

1 bottle of golden rum

1 cinnamon stick

2 vanilla beans

1 tsp black pepper corns

2 tsp cardamom

peel of 1/2 orange

Throw the lot together in a jar of some kind. Leave it for 2-5 days, shaking when you remember. Strain. Easy peasy!!!


  • Stephany

    I love cinnamon. I use it in most blends where people use peppermint and I think it is because I run cold, all the time. I have to admit to being partial to nutmeg in my coffee though.

    I am not a huge fan of egg nog, however I will make up the spiced rum, I think. Lovely post.

  • Butterpoweredbike

    My Gran was a big fan of eggnog… and oyster soup (for NY eve). A lot of people thought she was nuts, but think about how much sense those rich dishes make at this time of year. Hmmm, maybe I need to bring back her oyster soup tradition this year.

    I used to have cold fingers and toes all winter long. But since I met you, I’ve learned to use the warming spices – cinnamon, fenugreek (my current craving), anise, ginger, and cayenne. And now it’s December in an already tough winter, and I’ve yet to have that ice cube feeling. I prefer all of these taken in milk, instead of as a plain tea :)

  • Misty

    Man, that sounds wonderful! I love eggnog and now you’ve made it so I’m not feeling guilty about it! The spiced rum looks really good too.

    And now after reading Butterpoweredbike’s comment I want to make some oyster soup! :)

  • fairybekk

    Ok guys, what is oyster soup? Like, is it cooked? I’ve never had oysters anything but raw…

    Stephany. Never tried JUST nutmeg in my coffee. WIll try ASAP :).

    Butter. I heart you.

    Misty. I know right, thinking of it as a health food and medicine makes me, you know, have a mug of it every night and not think of it as drinking every night…

  • Butterpoweredbike

    As far as I can recall (it’s been a long while…), oyster soup was just little cooked oysters sitting at the bottom of a milk broth, something simple, like with onions and butter, and black pepper. Dairy, plus brine-y goodness equals good luck for the year. I think it will have to be my new year’s post this year. Gran knew her shit.

  • alwayshungry

    Seriously, I’m going to start nagging about that elf hat!
    I was asked to bring something to the last dance class of the year.
    So guess what I made when I got home from work?
    They all eyed it with suspicion but when I came home the bottle was empty…

  • AlyBlu

    I think I just had a mental orgasm reading that!

  • Katy K

    You’re so right about warm eggnog! Delicious! And it is TOTALLY medicine! When my mother was a kid she was pretty sick and scrawny. My grandmother would make her eggnog all year long, just to make sure she stayed healthy and strong. Apparently cocoa in the eggnog was for EXTRA special days. ^_^ A tradition I’m definitely going to keep alive!

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