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In a large heavy saucepan, combine egg yolks, milk, sugar, 1 cinnamon stick and 1 vanilla bean (if using). Cook and stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes or just until mixture coats a metal spoon. Remove from heat. Place the saucepan in a sink or bowl of ice water and stir mixture for 2 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Using a sharp knife, halve vanilla bean lengthwise and use the tip of the knife to scrape out the seeds. Add seeds to eggnog mixture; discard vanilla bean. Transfer to a pitcher.
Stir in rum and vanilla extract (if using). Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours before serving. If desired, sprinkle the pitcher or each serving with ground nutmeg and garnish with a cinnamon stick and/or vanilla bean.