Holiday gatherings aren’t complete without classic eggnog. This creamy and spiced drink has been a holiday tradition for generations and is sure to be a hit with your guests.
While you can certainly buy eggnog at the store, making your own homemade eggnog is surprisingly easy and allows you to customize the flavors to your liking. Whether you prefer a traditional recipe with rum or brandy, or a modern twist with vodka or amaretto, there’s an eggnog recipe out there for everyone. And if you’re looking to make it a non-alcoholic holiday drink, simply omit the booze and enjoy a delicious and creamy eggnog mocktail.
In this article, we’ll share tips and tricks for making the perfect homemade eggnog, as well as ideas for serving and garnishing your holiday drinks. So whether you’re hosting a holiday party or simply looking to sip on something festive by the fire, read on for everything you need to know about the beloved eggnog cocktail.
Eggnog has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to medieval times. The drink’s exact origins are unknown, but it is believed to have originated in Britain in the 13th century. At that time, it was a beverage for aristocrats and was made with eggs, milk, and wine or ale. Over time, the recipe evolved, and spirits such as rum, brandy, and whiskey were added to the mix.
The word “nog” is also believed to have originated in Britain and was used to describe a strong beer brewed in East Anglia. The first known use of the word “nog” was in 1693. The term “eggnog” seems to have been an American invention, first appearing in the late 18th or early 19th century. No one is sure where it came from, but it may have evolved from “nog” or “noggin,” which was a small wooden mug used to serve ale or beer.
Eggnog became a popular holiday drink in colonial America, and it remains a staple of holiday celebrations to this day. The drink has been associated with many historical events, including West Point riots and prison parties. It was also a favorite of George Washington, who had his own recipe for the drink, which included rum, sherry, and brandy.
Today, there are many variations of eggnog, including vegan and non-alcoholic versions. Some people even substitute mezcal for the traditional spirits. However, the classic recipe remains a favorite for many, and it continues to be a beloved holiday tradition.
How to Make It
- 8 oz whole milk
- 8 oz heavy cream
- 4 oz Brandy
- 2 oz Jamaican Rum
- 2 oz Rye Whiskey
- 1 oz sherry wine
- 3 eggs, separated
- 3 tablespoons sugar (turbinado or raw is best and offers a nice molasses hint you don’t get with white sugar)
- Cinnamon sticks
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Mix all the alcohols together and set aside
- Separate the eggs
- Whip the egg whites to soft peaks
- Macerate the egg yolks with the sugar until light, fluffy, and soft yellow
- CAREFULLY pour the alcohols into the egg yolk mixture, in a pencil-thin stream, stirring the whole time (if you go too quickly, the alcohol will curdle/cook the eggs)
- Add milk and cream
- Decant into an airtight container, add cinnamon sticks and freshly grated nutmeg
- Cover and leave in a cool, dark place for at least 14 days and for as long as six months
Choosing a Spirit for Your Eggnog
There is some debate about the best alcohol to add to eggnog. There are a variety of alcoholic additions that can be added to eggnog cocktails to enhance their flavor and complexity. Brandy is a traditional choice, but some people add whiskey, bourbon, rum, or cognac.
These spirits add depth and richness to the drink and complement the creamy texture of the eggnog. Adding a splash of bourbon or rum to your eggnog can give it a little extra kick. The bourbon will add a nutty flavor to the cocktail, while the rum will give it a more tropical taste. For a nutty twist, you can also try adding Frangelico or Amaretto.
You can adjust the amount of alcohol to your liking, but be careful not to overdo it. When making eggnog cocktails, it is best to add the alcohol last. This helps to ensure that the alcohol is evenly distributed throughout the drink and prevents it from separating or curdling.
If you want to add a twist to the classic eggnog cocktail, you can try out some variations. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
For a nutty twist on the classic eggnog, you can add a sprinkle of chopped nuts on top. Pecans, almonds, and walnuts all work well with the flavors of eggnog. You can also add a dash of nutmeg to the cocktail for an extra nutty flavor, or use a nutty spirit like Amaretto.
If you’re a chocolate lover, you can add some cocoa powder or chocolate syrup to your eggnog. This will give the cocktail a rich and chocolatey flavor that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
For a more adult twist on the classic eggnog, you can add a shot of espresso or coffee liqueur to the cocktail. This will give the eggnog a rich and complex flavor that is perfect for after-dinner drinks.
Shaken Eggnog Cocktail
To make a shaken eggnog cocktail, start by filling a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the desired amount of eggnog and your choice of alcohol. Shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds until the mixture is well combined and frothy. Strain the mixture into a chilled glass and garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon.
To make a frozen eggnog cocktail, start by blending together eggnog, ice, and your choice of alcohol in a blender until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, you can add a splash of milk or cream to thin it out. Pour the mixture into a chilled glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick or whipped cream.
No matter which variation you choose, make sure to use high-quality ingredients and adjust the recipe to your liking. With a little experimentation, you can create a unique and delicious eggnog cocktail that is sure to impress your guests.