Eggnog is one of the staples of every holiday season. Its rich, creamy decadence is perfect as a Christmastime indulgence. But it's even better when you make it at home, and not only that, when you make it weeks ahead of time! This Aged Eggnog recipe is even better after maturing in the fridge. The aging process not only makes the various flavors more pronounced, but it makes the drink taste smoother and richer (and cracking it open makes for a fun holiday tradition, too).
If your only Eggnog experience so far has been grocery-store-carton Eggnog, this recipe will change your world! The carton stuff is full of thickeners, corn syrup and preservatives, and even sometimes food coloring. While sometimes I'm all about shortcuts, the payoff you'll get from making Eggnog from scratch by far outweighs any trouble you'll have making it.
If you're looking for some other holiday cocktails to enjoy while it mellows in the fridge, give this easy and delicious Poinsettia Cocktail a try. And don't forget to include a Christmas mocktail for the non-drinkers: this festive Cranberry and Orange Juice Mocktail fits the bill perfectly.
Want an indulgent Christmas drink without the egg? Try out the minty and delicious Candy Cane Martini!
A Note about Using Eggs
If you are wondering, yes, Eggnog has eggs in it! Uncooked eggs are an amazing way to give cocktails a silky feel and creamy texture as you drink. But, using raw eggs does put you at risk for getting sick with a salmonella infection.
Luckily, there is a super easy way to kill off any salmonella bacteria (which, by the way, is most often found on the shell of the egg). This method is pasteurization, and the most reliable way to do it at home is with a sous vide machine.
You can read more on how to pasteurize your eggs in my post here: How to Pasteurize Eggs Sous Vide.
However, if you do plan to age this Eggnog longer than three weeks, you may not have to take the step of pasteurizing. The alcohol content will likely kill any salmonella present, although this has not been tested on a wide scale. You can check out an experiment done here with aged eggnog that had salmonella added to it on purpose. By the three week mark, the bacteria was gone.
Here are the ingredients you'll need to have on hand to get started with your Eggnog:
- Eggs (uncooked, but preferably Pasteurized Eggs)
- Nutmeg (preferably whole)
- Ground ginger (optional)
- Ground cinnamon (optional)
- Vanilla extract (optional)
- White rum (80 proof)
- Dark rum (84 proof)
- Whiskey (80 proof)
- Whole milk (3.5% milk fat)
- Heavy cream (at least 36% milk fat)
- Cinnamon stick (optional)
If you need to make a substitution to one of the ingredients, here are some recommendations:
- Eggs - The eggs give a lot of body and thickness to this recipe. If you have an egg allergy, you can try substituting in one packet of vanilla pudding mix plus an extra cup of milk.
- Sugar - You can substitute in a different sweetener, but check to see how sweet it is compared to sugar. For example, Allulose is less sweet than sugar, so you'd need to substitute in 10 ounces (a little less than a cup and a half) for every 8 ounces of sugar.
- Nutmeg and other spices - Nutmeg is pretty much the hallmark flavor of eggnog. But, you can switch around the spices based on what you personally like. Ground ginger, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and vanilla extract all go very well in this recipe.
- Rum and Whiskey - Traditionally, Eggnog was often made with Cognac as well as rum. You can really substitute in whatever spirits you like, although try to stick to something in the realm of rum, whiskey or aged brandy (rather than gin or tequila).
- Whole milk - You can substitute in a good quality almond milk or coconut milk if you have a dairy allergy. I don't recommend using skim milk, as it will make the final drink runny instead of creamy.
- Heavy cream - Again, I don't recommend substituting in anything with a much lower fat content, because it will drastically change the texture of the drink. You can try using half-and-half if necessary.
There are a lot of ways to change this recipe around, and ultimately make it to your own taste!
- Pumpkin Spice Eggnog - Yes, I totally went there. OK, I know most people are probably sick of pumpkin spice by the time Christmas rolls around, but there's nothing stopping you from adding half a can of pumpkin puree and a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to this mix.
- Non-alcoholic - You don't have to add the alcohol, but if you don't, I would for sure suggest pasteurizing the eggs. It will also not last as long, and you should use non-alcoholic eggnog within a week of making it.
- Coconut Eggnog - Substitute coconut milk for the whole milk and coconut cream for the heavy cream. Also, substitute in a coconut flavored rum for the white rum.
- Sugar Cookie Eggnog - this is a delicious and creamy version of eggnog with a milder flavor than the traditional. It has vanilla and almond flavors and a cute sugar cookie rim!
You'll need to gather together a large mixing bowl, a whisk, a couple of smaller bowls for separating the eggs, and a bowl to measure the sugar. You'll also need a liquid measuring cup to measure out all of your liquid ingredients.
If you're using whole nutmeg and grating it yourself (which I definitely recommend, it has a wonderful flavor and keeps for years!), you'll need a spice grater.
Once you're done mixing, you'll also need an airtight container to store everything in. I prefer to use glass for this, since it is non-reactive. You'll need around a 50-ounce (1.5 liter) container.
And when you're ready to serve, just grab your favorite cocktail glass or mug!
Making the Eggnog base
To get started, you'll first need to separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. If you're using pasteurized eggs, the yolk can be a little more delicate, so just be careful when separating them. Don't worry if you get some of the egg whites in the mix.
(Side note: as long as you don't get any broken egg yolks in them by accident, you can use your egg whites in many ways, including making a frothy-top cocktail like this Blueberry Gin Sour.)
Next, measure out your sugar, nutmeg and salt, and then add them all to a large mixing bowl. Add ground ginger and ground cinnamon if you're using them.
Add the egg yolks, and whisk the mixture until it flows off the whisk like a ribbon. Then, measure out all of your alcohol, and whisk it in until combined. You can optionally add a teaspoon of vanilla extract at this point.
Next, measure out the milk and cream, and add that to the mixing bowl. Whisk everything well until it is fully combined.
Aging the Eggnog
Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and seal it up. Make sure to label it, either with the date you made it or the date when you'd like to enjoy it!
At this point, you can add a whole cinnamon stick to the mixture if you'd like it to be extra cinnamony. (Keep in mind that cinnamon comes through pretty strong when exposed to alcohol, though, and could take over the other flavors.)
Put the container in the refrigerator and let it chill. Although you can drink it right away, try to let it age for at least two weeks. You can even age it for up to a year, but I suggest starting with a couple of weeks to see if you enjoy what the aging does to the mixture. (Plus, it's just hard to wait so long!!)
Serving it up
When it's time to drink, just unseal the container, add it to your cocktail glass and serve. If you'd like, you can grate some fresh nutmeg on top and add a cinnamon stick as a garnish.
Frequently Asked Questions
As long as it has enough alcohol, you can keep Eggnog in the refrigerator for a long time, even up to a year. It will change over time, so you can experiment to see how long your ideal aging time is. Two to three weeks of aging is a good timeframe to start testing.
Eggnog must be stored in the refrigerator. It's usually served chilled, and is really delicious that way. If you want to heat it up before serving, you can do it gently, preferably in a double boiler while whisking, so the eggs don't start to cook.
- Serving glass
- 6 egg yolks from 6 pasteurized whole eggs (see notes)
- 8 oz sugar 1 ⅛ cups
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg preferably freshly grated, plus more for garnish
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger optional
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
- pinch salt
- ½ cup dark rum
- ½ cup white rum
- ½ cup whiskey
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional
- 2 cinnamon sticks optional - one to add during aging and one for garnish
- Separate the egg yolks from the whole eggs.6 egg yolks
- Combine the sugar, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.8 oz sugar, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, pinch salt
- Add the egg yolks and whisk until the mixture gets thick and runs off the whisk like a ribbon.
- Add the dark rum, white rum and whiskey to the mixture and whisk to combine.½ cup dark rum, ½ cup white rum, ½ cup whiskey
- Add the cream, milk and vanilla extract and whisk to combine.2 cups whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pour the mixture into an airtight container and seal it up. Optionally add one cinnamon stick to the mixture while it ages (only do this if you like it to be very cinnamony).2 cinnamon sticks
- You could drink it right away, but it will get better as it ages. Try to refrigerate this for at least two weeks.
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to drink.
- When the aging is done, serve up the drink. Add a cinnamon stick garnish to each serving glass and fill the glass with the Eggnog. You can also grate some fresh nutmeg on top as another garnish.2 cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon nutmeg