Eggnog is a delicious winter drink, especially around Christmas time. It's very popular in the US and Canada, and quite similar to the Dutch Advocaat. This recipe is custard-based, so the eggs are cooked and nobody has to worry about salmonella.
If you are using vanilla pod, split it lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds (you can use the bark from the pod to infuse vanilla flavour into sugar if you like). Separate the egg yolks from the whites.
Pour the milk into a small saucepan, add the spices and heat it until it just begins to boil - be careful not to overheat it as the milk may curdle. In another pan, bring a couple of centimetres (about an inch) of water to a medium boil.
Choose a bowl (steel or heatproof glass) that will fit into the rim of the boiling water pan without sinking to the bottom. In this, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until you have a fluffy mixture. When the milk and spices are just boiling, pour it into the egg and sugar mixture. Place the bowl into the pan with the boiling water (basically making a bain marie), and stir continuously until it thickens enough for the mixture to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove the mixture from the heat, and allow to cool to room temperature. Now pour in the brandy and the cream and stir in well.
Your delicious eggnog is now ready, and you and your guests may consume it with gusto. Don't ask me how long this lasts, there's never any left!