How to Make Eggnog

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Eggnog is a rich and creamy beverage traditionally enjoyed during the holiday season in many countries, especially in the United States and Canada. This indulgent drink is made from a mixture of milk or cream, sugar, eggs, and often flavored with spices like nutmeg or cinnamon. Whether you prefer it spiked with alcohol or non-alcoholic, eggnog is a festive treat that brings warmth and comfort during cold winter months. Let's dive into the history, variations, and a classic recipe to make your own eggnog at home.

History of Eggnog

The exact origins of eggnog are somewhat murky, but it's believed to have European roots dating back to the medieval times. The drink gained popularity in England as "posset," a hot, milky ale-like beverage. As the drink spread to the American colonies, it evolved into what we now know as eggnog. The name itself is derived from the word "nog," which was a term used in the 17th century to describe strong ales.

In early America, eggnog was often associated with the upper class due to the cost of ingredients like milk, eggs, and spirits. It was a beverage enjoyed during special occasions and was often made with expensive brandy or rum. Over time, as these ingredients became more accessible, eggnog became a staple holiday drink enjoyed by people from all walks of life.

Variations of Eggnog

While the classic eggnog recipe remains popular, there are many variations and adaptations of this festive drink. Here are some popular variations:

  1. Spiked Eggnog: Add a splash of rum, brandy, whiskey, or bourbon to give your eggnog an extra kick.

  2. Non-Alcoholic Eggnog: Skip the alcohol altogether for a family-friendly version that everyone can enjoy.

  3. Dairy-Free Eggnog: Use almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk as a substitute for traditional dairy to create a vegan or lactose-free eggnog.

  4. Flavored Eggnog: Experiment with different spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or even add a hint of vanilla or almond extract for added flavor.

Classic Eggnog Recipe

Now, let's get to the good part – making your own eggnog at home! Here's a classic recipe that's sure to please:


  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Optional: 1/2 cup rum, brandy, whiskey, or bourbon


  1. Preparation: In a large saucepan, combine the milk, heavy cream, and half of the sugar. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it's just about to simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.

  2. Egg Mixture: In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar and eggs until smooth and slightly frothy.

  3. Combine: Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling. This step is crucial for achieving a smooth and creamy texture.

  4. Cook: Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the eggnog thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be careful not to let it boil, as this can cause the eggs to curdle.

  5. Flavoring: Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and ground nutmeg. If you're adding alcohol, stir it in at this point.

  6. Chill: Transfer the eggnog to a heatproof container and let it cool to room temperature. Then, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until chilled.

  7. Serve: Before serving, give the eggnog a good stir as it may separate while chilling. Serve cold with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top, if desired.

Tips for the Perfect Eggnog

  • Use fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best flavor and texture.
  • For a richer and creamier eggnog, you can use a combination of whole milk and heavy cream or even add a bit of half-and-half.
  • If you're concerned about consuming raw eggs, you can use pasteurized eggs or egg yolks, or you can heat the eggnog mixture to 160°F (71°C) to ensure that it's safe to consume.
  • Don't skip the chilling step! Chilling the eggnog allows the flavors to meld together and gives it a thicker consistency.

Eggnog is a timeless holiday classic that's easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients. Whether you prefer it spiked with alcohol or non-alcoholic, dairy or dairy-free, there's an eggnog recipe out there for everyone. So, gather your ingredients, put on some holiday music, and enjoy a glass of homemade eggnog this festive season! Cheers!

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