My Aged Eggnog Recipe

My Aged Eggnog Recipe

The word nog was an Old English term for ale, and a noggin was the cup from whence it was drunk.

Although most Americans think of eggnog as something they get out of a milk carton during the two-week period leading up to Christmas, eggnog descends from sack posset, a strong, thick English beverage built upon eggs, milk and either a fortified wine (like Madeira) or ale. It was a highly alcoholic beverage, often served so thick it could be scooped. It was also very much an upper-class tipple, as rich folks were usually the only ones who could procure the proper ingredients.

Yeah, this recipe has a lot of booze in it, but the longer the nog ages, the more mellow it will get. I’m also super picky about the texture of my eggnog and find that the combination of listed dairy gets me what I’m looking for.

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  1. 12 large eggs (pasteurized if you need peace of mind)
  2. 1 pound sugar
  3. 1 pint half-n-half
  4. 1 pint whole milk
  5. 1 pint heavy cream
  6. 1 cup Jamaican rum
  7. 1 cup cognac
  8. 1 cup bourbon
  9. 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (plus more for serving)
  10. 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Separate the eggs and store the whites for another purpose.
  2. Beat the yolks with the sugar and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl until the mixture lightens in color and falls off the whisk in a solid "ribbon."
  3. Combine dairy, booze and salt in a second bowl or pitcher and then slowly beat into the egg mixture.
  4. Move to a large glass jar (or a couple of smaller ones) and store in the fridge for a minimum of 2 weeks. A month would be better, and two better still. In fact, there's nothing that says you couldn't age it a year, but I've just never been able to wait that long. (And yes, you can also drink it right away.)
  5. Serve in mugs or cups topped with a little extra nutmeg grated right on top.


Add yours
  1. 1

    It’s a chilly day here in the PNW, and a jar of this sounds fantastic. I’m going to make tonight, but must… let… it age…

  2. 2

    Most eggnog recipes call for some whipped eggwhites to be added. That would thicken it up. You would only need about 4 or 5 whipped to stiff peaks. Just fold in gently after everything else. I am not sure about using the egg whites if you are going to age it. Better drink it all right away!

  3. 3
    Jeff t

    I made this just after thanksgiving and gave t a taste this evening. It has a delicious I flavor, but the drink is very thin. How can I thicken it up before New Year’s Eve?

  4. 4

    Just got done making this. Tastes good unaged. I added up the total cost for the ingredients for this recipe, and wow,It costs a pretty penny for just about 6 pints of this stuff. I hope it’s a thousand times better in two weeks than the store bought stuff, or I may just have to stick to adding a little rum to the store bought stuff for a tenth of the price. Love AB, but definitely not the cheapest recipe.

    • 5
      Rob Bos

      I get the alcohol in 750ml batches, so that’s enough for three batches. If you amortize the cost over three batches, it starts to look better. Assuming you spend $50/bottle on the alcohol and $30 on the milk, you get $60 per batch and thus $20 per bottle.

  5. 6

    Made this last year and kind of forgot about it in the fridge for awhile. Decided to keep it until this year, and we just drank it. Holy Crap, that’s fantastic. Going to make it again in a few months to have for next Christmas!

    • 8

      Cream has to be 18% fat but ‘Heavy Cream’ doesn’t have a definition beyond that. Half-n-Half & Whole Milk may be a way to average out the unknown fat content in Heavy Cream.

  6. 9

    I would really like to make this and use it as Christmas gifts for next year but I’m worried about finding containers to store it in for that long. I understand they need to be airtight but what kind of containers or jars would anyone recommend. Also when put in the jars or containers would they need to be filled to the top for the airtight seal to work properly?

  7. 12
    Erik Icenhour

    Made this last year right after Thanksgiving, drank some of it then, and have been aging the rest now for over a year. Just cracked it open and it is DEVINE! Oh my gosh is this some good stuff!!

  8. 13

    Alton Brown, you are a genius! Wow, is this good – and it hasn’t even aged, yet (I honestly don’t think it’s going to get the chance to age)!!!

  9. 14

    Will it be an issue if its not air tight sealed? Made a triple batch and storing in a 2 gallon glass jar with a lid but its not going to be air tight

    • 15

      Oxidation could become a big problem if your container isn’t airtight. That will happen independent of any bacterial growth; no amount of alcohol will prevent it.

    • 17
      Patrick Burroughs (Celti)

      Nog should always be kept in airtight containers at around 40°F for maximum freshness. While if you put enough tipple in it it might technically stay drinkable at higher temperatures, I’d expect things like separation and souring to occur.

  10. 18

    What should I do… I made a batch of this with unpasteurized eggs! Stupid oversight at grocery store. Used high-end liquor. Ugh!
    Do I through it out?

    • 19

      It should be fine, if you used the stated levels of alcohol odds are nothing harmful will be able to live in it for very long. Let it age a bit and enjoy. (We use unpasteurized eggs for things, and so far it’s never bitten us.)

    • 21

      You shouldn’t have any issues. I have used unpasteurized eggs in my eggnog for many years. Modern agricultural methods have all but eliminated any risk of contracting salmonella from raw eggs. Additionally, the alcohol level of this recipe is quite antiseptic, to say the least. Please don’t throw out the eggnog you made, especially if you put good liquor in it – it would be an unnecessary waste.

    • 23

      I had the same experience with the reduction in volume after a week. I topped the bottles off with eggnog to fill the gap. (I used 13.5 oz glass bottles from Argo iced tea to store the eggnog.) I have six full bottles in the refrigerator, or about 12 servings.

      • 24
        Rita K

        I had the same thing happen — mine has deflated & separated; it’s been 3 weeks & it has not mellowed at all, tasted better the first day actually; I’m wondering if mine is ‘soured’ or spoiled? I used glass bottles that had yogurt with snap on plastic tops; maybe they weren’t airtight? I am thinking mine is ruined , 3 qts, with recommended spirits that were not cheap :/

  11. 25

    I will attempt to age this for a year. I LARP and for crafting events there is a food and sometimes alcoholic category, the more authentic, the better ^_^ and no one thinks to make aged eggnog.

    My only question is, what can I do with all of the leftover egg whites? I never use them and with this much, i’d rather try and make something. Any ideas?

  12. 28

    Oh my! I just made a double batch, and it’s been aging for about a week and a half. I’ve been sneaking sips and it’s definitely mellowing out with age. I cut my sugar to 3/4 that the recipe calls for though. My first batch was way too sweet, so I went half on the sugar the second time and redistributed the contents between the two batches to even it all out.

    Going to have to figure out how to not drink it all over the next two weeks before Christmas dinner!

    • 29

      We are waiting till next Christmas to open up our 3 quarts we made 2 weeks ago, and hopefully keeping the rotation going every year… this will be hard, but I think very worth it!

      • 30

        I’m gonna make a few batches and age them a year and give them out at Christmas time next year. Glad to know I’m not the only one who is going to let it age that long.

    • 32

      Cold. Hot eggnog does not sound good at all. Plus, you could run the risk of cooking the eggs at that point, although the alcohol would probably keep that from happening.

  13. 33
    William Lynt III

    I’ve had store-bought Egg Nog and could not for the life of me understand why people like it. But, I love the thought of Egg Nog AND soooo many people seem to really like it AND I’m a huge AB fan, so I tried this recipe. It has got to be one of the best things I ever tasted! I mixed it, tasted it right after and loved it! It is presently aging in my fridge and I can’t wait to sip on it more after a couple weeks! The biggest thing I’m wrestling with now is do I bring some to my office party or keep it all for myself?!?

    • 36

      Pint is a liquid volume measurement – approx 473 ml if converted to metric.
      Half-n-half is a dairy product, also known as “half cream” in the UK, butterfat content is approx 12.5%.

    • 37
      Stacey McGovern

      In Canada and the United States, half and half (known as “half cream” in the United Kingdom) almost always refers to a light cream typically used in coffee. The name refers to the liquid’s content of half milk and half cream. Its butterfat content is 12.5%.[5] It is widely available in the United States, both in individual-serving containers and in bulk. It is also used to make ice cream. Non-fat versions of the product are also available, containing corn syrup and other ingredients.[6]

  14. 38

    This is delicious! Foir those that think it’s a bit thin I’ve found that giving the jar a good shaking before serving the eggnog will thicken it up a bit.

  15. 39

    @Josh, sorry but that sounds kind of… Not good. Sorry I’ve never tried it any other way, This recipe is perfect! I use Rum, Brandy, and Whiskey…. Tonight it was Kentucky bourbon whiskey. Enjoy!

  16. 40

    I am so excited to get to make this tonight. I went out today to buy supplies. I didn’t buy the run because I still had a bottle left of run we bought when we got married in Jamiaca. When I started measuring everything out I realized I had less run than I thought I did. U forgot about a year and a half ago I decided since we don’t drink much to make my own vanilla with a stash of vanilla beans we had. I was half a cup short of run so I used a blend of half cup rum, half cup of vanilla rum. The whole blend smells incredible and the flecks of vanilla bean are pretty. You are right. I am gonna have a hard time not “testing” this.

  17. 42

    The seemingly perfect way to store this is with our quart milk bottles from our local dairy farm, but they come with snap-on plastic caps… does anybody know if this is considered airtight?

  18. 46

    Now I know what to do with the egg yolks left from making Angel Food cake : ) The whites could also be used for omelets, meringues, or macaroons.

  19. 48

    I am going to be making this over the weekend. My question is: is it too late? By christmas it will just be a little over the 2 weeks. Will the alcohol be too overpowering?

  20. 49
    Eric T

    I’d considered going with a dark rum, but with the cognac and bourbon I realized a white would be fine here and stuck with Wray & Nephew

  21. 56

    I quickly scanned through the other comments and didn’t see an answer – how many servings does this make? I want to make it for Christmas this year (will start now) but need to know if I need to double it. Thanks.

  22. 69

    Alton! How can you leave us hanging on what KIND of cognac and bourbon? Yes, yes, I’m sure that’s another whole barrel (or few) of posts and controversy. But when have you ever shied away from settling controversy with the way you’d do it in your kitchen?

  23. 70

    Are you familiar with the Joy Of Cooking eggnog recipe? I’ve made it. Several times. You will need a bigger bowl. And it is sublime. And it would anesthetize a moose.

    • 72

      My guess is that 1) The texture will be much thinner than Alton’s combo, and 2) It might not age well, since who knows what the sugar-sub would do? Do they break down chemically, etc…? BUT, it would probably be fairly tasty if you drank it straight away.

    • 73

      Probably not great. Lower fat dairy and you’re going to miss out on creaminess, sugar substitutes aren’t going to offer the same taste, and you’ve got the alcohol in there anyway so you’re still getting sugars. If you’re avoiding sugar for health reasons (like diabetes) you’re not supposed to drink liquor either for that reason. It’s honestly probably better to make it full fat, full sugar and just not drink as much of you’re counting calories and opt for something else entirely if you’re diabetic.

    • 74

      I have a Splenda cookbook and it contains a recipe for sugar-free egg nog. The recipe uses Splenda, vanilla, milk, half and half, corn starch and nutmeg. You cook the egg-nog base (eggs, Splenda, and cream) in a double boiler until it gets hot. Then you add the corn starch. Whisk (I use a stick blender) until it gets thick and creamy. Then add it to the milk and whisk some more (I pour it through a metal strainer then use a stick blender). Add the vanilla and nutmeg, chill, and serve. Can’t tell the difference! So you can make a sugar-free version. But the preparation is a bit different since it relies on cooking it and adding cornstarch. I believe the cookbook I use is called the Splenda Cookbook. I’ve also used full sugar in place of Splenda and comes out just as good. I believe Alton’s recipe is using the alcohol to denature the egg proteins whereas mine uses heat.

  24. 76
    Chuck Lutz

    I’m definitely making this for New Years. Alton Brown’s recipes are always top notch. What’s the deal with the accompanying photo with this recipe? If yolk based, how is it white and frothy? And if you wanted it to be couldn’t you fold in “fresh”, whipped egg whites into the nog before serving? Curious.

    • 77
      pastry chef

      Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until it gets lighter in color and doubles or triples in volume. This ensures for a smooth and thick texture in the end. I would not at all add whipped egg whites (merengue) to this recipe. It will throw off taste, texture, and it might curdle and separate adding a watery layer during storage.

  25. 78
    Jim Carter

    I have made this eggnog ever since Alton’s article appeared in Mental Floss about three years ago. It is amazing. I agree with anyone who commented about the aging process for this drink. The longer it sits, the less “boozy” the flavor will be. I always air on the side of caution with the alcohol in terms of killing any pathogens that might exist in the dairy. So I double up on the spirits. Again the longer it sits the more of the alcohol taste mellows. Last year I sat a quart in the back of my basement fridge for “aging” purposes. I broke it out recently and was blown away by the taste! Thanks Alton for inspiring a tradition in my family!

  26. 80

    I tried making a double batch and it is coming out super thin. My yolks seemed kind of small so that may have been a factor. At this point it tastes like sugary booze milk. Will it thicken with time?

  27. 82
    Daniel Zehner

    I didn’t think I could do it, but I still officially have some nog left over from this recipe last year. When the calendar flips over to December I’m going to try it!

  28. 85

    I made this last year, and came back to get the recipe again. I felt the need to make a quick comment, because I really enjoyed this. It was a big hit, I loved it, everyone “who hated egg nog” loved it. It just really turned out fantastic.

    I don’t have much insight to offer on any variations. However, I can offer some first hand thoughts on the aging. When I made it, it was slightly over the “minimum” of two weeks. It was great, and well received on Christmas day. I had some left over still, and it sat in my fridge till roughly mid-January(closer to the end) and I broke it out when I had some people over. During this time it obviously aged more, and the difference in flavour was VERY noticable. It was absolutely amazing, maybe one of the best alcoholic drinks I’ve ever had. Thus I would suggest to make this NOW! I can’t overstate how important and how much of a difference the extra aging made to this.

  29. 86

    Even with eggs in the recipe, it will not make you sick! As long as you keep it chilled and in an airtight container nothing can go wrong. The alcohol ferments only in the absence of oxygen, keeping any bacteria from growing.

  30. 87

    I just made a batch, and it’s sitting in the fridge until Christmas.

    One concern: I used half the amount of alcohol called for (just to smooth it out a bit). Still used the same mix of 80 proofs called for. Will that be enough booze to keep it preserved for the next month and a half, or should I add more to be safe? The last thing I want is a green Christmas full of mold nog.

  31. 88

    So I just made a double batch and my local dairy (glass bottles, hand written labels) messed up the labels and I ended up substituting the heavy cream with buttermilk. Any ideas as to what to do with it? I’ve got close to $100+ worth of ingredients, I don’t want to pour it down the drain.

    • 92

      Yolks do have all the cholesterol, and it is a lot, however it was recently discovered that the cholesterol you eat does not contribute to blood levels measured by doctors.

  32. 93

    Seriously if you read it one batch has at least 9 cups of liquid – minimum not including the eggs etc… So
    I don’t know but do the math.

  33. 96

    Can this be made in a stone crock?
    Also, I recall a family member made a crock-stored eggnog. It was left in the coolest room in the house and periodically more alcohol (I think it was rum) was added over the two months preceeding Christmas. No one got sick, but I was too young to remember the details. Is there a version of this process that’s safe?

  34. 98

    I just made my batch today (10/4) for Christmas 2015. I’ve made it every year now for the past 3 years and it is amazing. I’ve always used pasteurized eggs (kinda hard to find but whole foods usually has them) and have never had issues with spoiling or people getting sick. The first year I made it I saved a mason jar of it in the back of the fridge for a whole extra year (so 14 months aging total)and it was amazing. Very smooth and the amount of booze was mellowed out quite a bit. But that’s hard to save it that long and people tend to not want to drink it (their loss). So now I usually make it the first weekend of oct, age it 2 months and it is great.

  35. 99

    Thank you for this recipe. I have one minor question: after putting it into the glass jar (or jars), do they need to be covered or do I leave it uncovered?

    • 100
      J. Scott Wilson

      You’ll definitely want to cover it. Even though it’s fairly thick, it will still lose moisture if left uncovered, and it can also pick up funky flavors from other stuff in the fridge.

  36. 101
    Mark Votaw

    Well, Mr. Brown, you can disregard my request for a recipe for aged eggnog. If I had looked around your website BEFORE I wrote that…….Love this recipe.

  37. 102

    Great recipe. Made a batch 2 days before Christmas, so it didn’t have a chance to age. It was still a big hit so I made a double batch the next weekend and have been sampling it regularly ever since. The flavors really developed some distinctive funk (in a good way) about a month out. It is now just over six months old now and the flavors have mellowed out beautifully. I need to make a new batch now and perhaps a double batch at Thanksgiving. Then for Christmas I can hold a blind tasting comparing the 1 and 6 month old versions.

  38. 104

    Totally made this for next Christmas. I believe you that I can age it for a year… but I’m gonna crack it open mid-December and have some, just to be sure it won’t make anybody sick 🙂 Although, I may have to crack it open next month just to try it. When I made it, I made a 1/2 batch which filled a large wine bottle. The next day, it appeared to be separated which I figured out was the air that got mixed into the yolk mixture. I shook it up and there really was quite a bit of air cuz the head knocked down a couple inches from the top. Perhaps the fellow who is having separation didn’t mix the yolks enough?

  39. 105

    So i made a double batch of this recipe about a week ago and put it in 9 pint 1/2 mason jars. I plan on having one every month or so to find out at what time i enjoy it the most. I have notice that im getting a little bit of separation on the bottom of my jars, is that to be expected or was something done incorrectly ? I also have these jars on the top shelf of my refrigerator near the light, i feel foolish for asking but would that cause any issue with the eggnog (both proximity to the light and the top shelf being the coolest part)? please advise.

    • 106

      I’m getting separation on my month-old double batch as well. Don’t know whether to shake ’em up once in a while, or to leave well enough alone. Alton (or his minions), please help us out!

      • 107

        I made a batch two weeks ago and like a couple other folks it appears to be separated in the fridge. There’s a thicker, darker liquid taking up a couple of inches at the bottom of my container. It seems to recombine if I shake it, but I’m worried I messed something up or it won’t be safe to drink come Christmas. Any ideas or help?

      • 108

        Ethanol is less dense than water, and water is less dense than nutmeg, so there will always be separation. It’s like a bottle of Italian salad dressing. Shake it every so often while aging and most certainly shaking it before serving

  40. 111

    I contacted the county extension agency (SC – Clemson University) to ask about safeness of this. Their microbiologist said it would not make it to fermentation but will spoil first. Recommended not beyond 3 months to use. Not enough alcohol. I did not ask them how much alcohol is needed. But me, since it is in the refrig. I’ll let it go.

  41. 116

    Guys, here’s a simple one: 7 egg yolks, 2/3 cup of sugar (beat hell out of it), one whole little bottle of vanilla, and 16 ounces of vodka. Age it – six months is good. Sprinkle a little instant coffee on top – surprise! Don’t worry about the calories – you can only drink so much of this before the cup falls from your hand.

  42. 118

    Hello, all!
    I’m trying to get myself into the hair of staying up later, so I try to find busywork to obsess over whenever I start to feel sleepy.
    That said, I calculated the total number of calories in this recipe to be right around 6,800. Actual serving size varies – especially accounting for evaporation differences between eggnog consumed right away versus a six month wait – so each mixologist will need to portion it as they see fit.

  43. 120
    Josh C

    Does anyone have any ideas on uses for the egg whites? I just made my first batch, and it is so amazing. We’re using this batch’s whites for stuffed bell peppers, but looking for other uses, because I’m totally making more tomorrow.

    • 127

      Absolutely can. I ended up with 2 cups of bourbon and 1 cup of rum. I didn’t have any cognac. Using the different alcohols gives you different flavors. Even when I did it that way, It still tasted divine! I will be doing this next year with the appropriate types of alcohol.

  44. 128

    @Anthony: FWIW, I make a similar recipe and IMHO it is definitely scalable – up or down.
    @Diane: FWIW, I’m not a scientist but have aged these types of recipes for well over a year with no curdling or souring – the alcohol seems to proof it.

    For storing containers, I use (without any treatment) just-emptied liquor bottles or prior liquor bottles in which I’ve aged the eggnog. When using bottles I’ve previously aged eggnog in, I rinse out thoroughly in hot water and then boil the bottles and the screw tops for an hour. I’ve also stored larger quantities in a beer growler with the spring top closure with rubber gasket. To sterilize the growler, I pull out the rubber gasket and boil it, and for the glass growler I hot water soak/wash then bake 350f for two hours. Never had a problem with spoilage, contamination, etc.

    Many who aren’t used to drinking straight liquor find these concoctions too strong to drink right out of bottle. For a party, you can pour a batch into a punch bowl and fold in some beaten egg whites and whipped cream and serve like a punch or “cut” individual servings with a dollop of whipped cream and/or a little heavy or light cream or even whole milk.

    For booze, I’ve had great results with Evan Williams or Maker’s Mark bourbon, Remy VSOP cognac and Meyers Dark Rum.

    Try freshly grated nutmeg on top – significantly better than pre-ground IMHO.

  45. 129

    OMG this tastes so good! But boy is it a lot of alcohol. Don’t make this before you have to drive anywhere. Even taste testing could be hazardous to your driving! 😉

  46. 131

    I made this a couple days ago with the knowledge that it would never have the chance to age. Didn’t have half and half, so I used half whole milk and half heavy cream. I also used a good spiced rum instead of the three suggested liquors because I can’t mix my liquors without getting sick. The end product was smooth and tasty, and very strong (no problem, because I like rum). I’ll probably use a bit more heavy cream next time. Great recipe. I plan to make it again in a few days.

  47. 133
    Chris Helms

    On Twitter today you posted that you wouldn’t put cognac in your eggnog and yet… Would you like to update your recipe or retract your post-it note?

  48. 135
    Dan B

    I just made this, and since I was able to find pasteurized eggs at the market for a change, I used them. I was wondering, though, at what alcohol concentration salmonella is no longer a concern. By my math, assuming 80-proof spirits, the end product is about 10-11% alcohol. I’ve made nog before with non-pasteurized eggs, and I probably will again, but it’d be nice to be able to say “nothing to worry about” if someone asks.

  49. 137

    Curious, any alternatives to putting this in glass jars? I want to store it for a month, but wondered if I could put it in something else.

  50. 139
    Texas Gal

    I have a friend who makes eggnog very similar to this recipe. We always drink it right away – I didn’t know it could be aged. It’s quite tasty, but STRONG!

    • 144
      John Hawkins

      Jamaican rums are usually darker with more molasses flavor to them. Puerto Rican rums are typically lighter both in color and flavor. Either will work, but Jamaican will bring a stronger rum flavor. If you’re feeling particularly wealthy, try substituting a Demerara rum.

  51. 146

    You may not see my FB comment (and you may not see this one either) but WOOHOO! Thanks for posting this, it is exactly what I’ve been looking for. =o.~=

  52. 152
    Christine K

    Was just wondering if people though this would work with coconut cream and coconut milk? I’ve made similar substitutions before but wasn’t sure if the alcohol or “aging” would have any effect.

  53. 154

    I would love to try to make this if the booze cost investment wasn’t so high. If you don’t already have those beverages on hand thats at least a $60 cost if you are getting anything that is of ok quality.

  54. 157

    It’s eggnog, not a kale smoothie, of course it’s full of calories! That’s the point! You just don’t drink the whole batch in one day. The alcohol and sugar will keep the dairy from spoiling. Don’t skimp.

    • 158

      I love you for being the voice of reason. Who thinks eggnog should be a diet drink? It is an occasional treat not to be guzzled down in an instant. Rather, it is to be savored slowly and enjoyed.

  55. 159
    Paul in NJ

    Sweet Jeezum Crow — I can’t even begin count the calories in this recipe! It may be nectar, but that’s way too much for me. Unless, of course, AB can level it down to, say, a two-egg recipe…

    • 160

      You don’t drink the whole recipe on your own. I’d say a 1/2 cup serving is plenty and clocks in at around 300 Calories (if my estimate is correct).

  56. 161
    Doug R.

    This is very similar to the nog I’ve been making for years now, although we always drink it immediately and have never let it age (although once, some got pushed to the back of the fridge and GOT aged…).

    I may have to try this! Thanks yet again, Mr. B!

    • 164

      Half and half is about 10% milkfat. Whole milk i think is 3-4%. Cream can be 30-40%. So mixing them equally won’t work out to the right percentage of milkfat.

  57. 171
    Tracy Eckertson

    I think this is going to be a necessity for this Christmas! I’m going to run with the “And yes, you can also drink it right away.” promise!

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