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.

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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.


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  1. 1
    Hilmir Kolbeins

    I just tried mine out, put it glass bottles on Nov 19th. Opened one up and had a glass, it´s so amazing, so smooth but packs a punch. This is my all time favorite, will be an annual for me from now.

  2. 3

    I made a batch 2 weeks ago. The nutmeg is settling to the bottom. Do I need to shake it up once in awhile to keep it mixed up? Or just leave it be? Looking forward to Christmas time for sampling and sharing!

  3. 7

    Sue: I mis-spoke. I have seven very full PINT jars. I was thinking the recipe made six pints and somehow I went over. I feel better now.

  4. 8
    Sue Holbik

    Shalding… you only ended up with 3 1/2 Pints is that correct? I made two batches last week. I have 2 one half gal. jars from the first batch and 4 quart jars from the second batch. Both batches equaling 1 gallon each/ total 2 gallons. Wonder what you did wrong.

  5. 10

    Grant, we really like the recipe as is. I think changing the amount of spirits (I.e tripling) or using Evetclear would so drastically change the overall flavor and consistency, it would ruin it. I will take my chances. But thanks for doing the math. Enjoy whatever recipe you use.

  6. 11

    Alton Brown has never commented on what is meant by the above it’s clearly a typo one way or the other. I’ve always assumed he meant that the recipe is 20% booze, not 20% alcohol. But dozens (hundreds?) of us have made the recipe as written and there is not a single report on here about anybody getting sick from the bacteria. Many of us have had batches over a year old.

    If you want to screw up your recipe with Everclear, have at it.

  7. 13
    Grant Michalski

    So, I’ve done the math, and to get up to 20% alcohol for the batch, you’d have to use 3 cups each of the bourbon, rum, and cognac (bear in mind you’re adding volume, and that the liquor is only 40% alcohol). On the plus side, this would increase the batch size to 9 pints rather than 6. If you prefer to go the (admittedly cheaper) everclear route, you’d only need to add 1.6 cups (1-2/3 is probably the closest you’re going to get).

  8. 16
    Grant Michalski

    Thanks Sherry, but the bourbon, rum, and cognac are (typically) only 40% alcohol (80 proof), so of the 3 cups the recipe calls for, only 1.2 cups is pure alcohol (ethanol). The remaining 1.8 cups is water, flavor, etc.

    This is my third year making the recipe – I’m not ~that~ concerned, but from what I’ve read, you need to get up to 20% alcohol to take care of microbes, and this is only half that.

  9. 18
    Grant Michalski

    So, the text says this should be 20% alcohol by volume to deal with any microbes, but by my calculation, this recipe is only 10% alcohol (20 proof).

    One batch produces about 6 pints or 12 cups, but there is only about 1.2 cups of alcohol in this (3 cups x 40% (80 proof)). 1.2/12 = 0.1 or 10%

    So…do we need more booze?

  10. 19
    Courtenay Chadwell-Gatz

    You can freeze the egg whites in ice cube trays and save them for use later. Some people whisk them when they’re ready to drink the nog and fold them in.

  11. 21
    Sue Holbik

    I have some very good Whiskey, can I use this instead of the bourbon? (I do have cognac and will purchase rum). my concern is if I can replace the bourbon with Whiskey.

  12. 23

    Barbara, look up Pavlova – really easy to whip up one large or a batch of small ones from the leftover egg whites – very easy and they look impressive. I also use a couple of whites beaten until stiff folded into omelets just to lighten – egg whites can be frozen also. Enjoy

  13. 25
    Mark Topp

    I made a batch last year, and it was a huge success. Made another batch this year, and dug out part of last years batch still at the back of the fridge. Gave it a try, prepared for the worst, but it was amazing.

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