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 safety is always first and you’ll want at least 20 percent alcohol by volume to stamp out any microbial baddies the raw eggs might have brought on board. I also think the various natural flavorants in the spirits provide a fantastic complexity as the nog ages, with my peak target generally being between 4 and 6 months.

AGED EGGNOG
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Ingredients
  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
Instructions
  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.
ALTON BROWN https://altonbrown.com/

913 Comments

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  1. 1
    Heather

    This is the second year I’ve made this. I made it at the beginning of December last year. Guests at Christmas LOVED it. I made double this year in early November. We consumed about 2/3 of it at Thanksgiving. Again, it was a HUGE hit. I’m saving the last for Christmas. I think I’m going to try to see if I can make it much earlier this next year, like June or July, to see how it has aged come the fall/winter holidays.

    I have found that as long as you have 3 cups of one of the brown liquors listed, it doesn’t much matter which one it is. Last year, I only had cognac and bourbon, so I just used half and half of those. This year, I used the proportions of each listed on the recipe, and I didn’t note any major difference. I’m sure you’d be fine using all bourbon/rum/cognac if you don’t have the other two in the house. (Also, don’t waste money on good liquor. You won’t be able to taste the nuance of what makes it better anyway. Bottom shelf rum, bourbon, and cognac will work just as well and save you some money.)

  2. 2
    Jeff C.

    Made up my first batch. It was thick and creamy when I first made it but it has separated while in the fridge. Is this normal?

    I’ll give it a good shake before I drink it but just wanted to check.

  3. 3
    Michael

    Just mixed up a triple batch. Immediately it was pretty hot but can’t wait for it to mellow. We have 12 half pint jars for gifts, one quart jar to forget about in the back of the fridge and a bit less than a gallon for Christmas Eve party. I used Larceny Bourbon, Meyers Jamaican Rum, and Paul Masson Grande Amber brandy, fresh grated nutmeg and vanilla bean paste.

  4. 4
    Kevin

    Lina- I’ve not tried opening jars and then letting them sit for months afterward, but I have about 4 jars that are seven weeks old and I open them at least once a week to check for “quality assurance.” So I would certainly believe that as long as you’re moving your eggnog into a clean container and keeping it refrigerated, you’ll be just fine.

    And Nathaniel- I totally agree, fresh grated nutmeg and cinnamon make a big difference in the taste. Well worth the minimal effort.

  5. 5
    Thomas Campbell

    Have made this recipe twice now.

    Used Demerara sugar this go round with higher proofed Smith and Cross Jamaican Rum [10oz] (57%), and Old Gran Dad 114 Bourbon [14oz] (57%), and Rynal Cognac [10 oz] (40%). ABV should be well over 20%. Taste test was good, can’t wait until it mellows a bit. Added more alcohol than the called for 8oz because I like a little bit thinner nog.

  6. 6
    Lina Bui

    Has anyone bottled the egg nog for aging, then moved the nog to another container later for continued aging? I only had small mason jars when I made the nog last week, but i want to move them all to a large sealed carafe I just bought. Will the opening/moving of the egg nog ruin the aging process at all?

  7. 7
    Blake Smith

    This is my fourth year of making this eggnog. I grate my own nutmeg, and cinnamon. The difference is night and day, and when you serve it, a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg and cinnamon on top will have your guests raving.

  8. 9
    Kevin

    Mary- why not just make another batch and combine the two together, effectively halving the amount of cinnamon in the batches? It will certainly not go bad anytime soon.

    Also, I totally agree that a 1/2 tsp is really all you need. I added 1/3 tsp to one of my quart jars (so the equivalent of 1 tsp to the batch) and it is VERY cinnamon-y. Too much so for my liking. But I will combine it with my “control” quart and it should be good to go.

  9. 10
    Mary

    To the person that said they added a teaspoon of cinnamon—I say that is way too much. Unless you like cinnanog. Maybe I was nipping at the liquor too much and on a whim I added the 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. It does taste good, but way too much like a cinnamon drink. I regret—maybe 1/2 teaspoon is better? I added the cinnamon based on some of the reviews because I made This recipe years ago and didn’t get any comments on it at all. I vaguely remembered it didn’t seem “boggy” enough, now I wonder if it could have been the quality of the alcohol. The bad news is, this batch is ruined by too much cinnamon, the good news is, it’s still drinkable and I will have to keep experimenting—next time, will go back to the original recipe but with good quality alcohol!

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