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.


  • 12 large eggs (pasteurized if you need peace of mind)
  • 1 pound sugar
  • 1 pint half-n-half
  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 cup Jamaican rum
  • 1 cup cognac
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (plus more for serving)
  • 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

    “you’ll want at least 20 percent alcohol by volume to stamp out any microbial baddies the raw eggs.” If my calculations are correct this recipe comes out to about 13% ABV. I am using 40% Bourbon and Cognac and 46% Rum. Will 13% ABV be safe?

  2. 2
    Mike M

    I made this eggnog last October(2017) and have had it in the refrigerator ever since. I opened a bottle earlier to try and am pleased to announce that it is fantastic! The booze mellowed over time and the dairy has become much thicker than when first tasted last Christmas. The eggnog had a superb mouth feel and coated my tongue resulting in a taste that lingered long after I finished sipping it. I could detect no spoilage at all, the alcohol did it’s job of acting as the preservative and killing any potential harmful bacteria that might have been associated with using all those raw eggs.

  3. 3

    Nick, I would make a batch of cooked eggnog for non drinking friends or use pasteurized eggs at the very least. And you need to make that fresh since the booze also acts as a preservative.

  4. 4
    Nathaniel Ingersoll

    @Nick – we’re talking milk & raw eggs here; even pasteurized milk has some bacteria (surprise! there’s actually larger amounts allowed in pasteurized milk than in certified raw!). While 10% ABV isn’t a ton, it’s enough to keep the ‘gnog good.
    In addition, it literally won’t taste like egg nog without the booze. Commercial “egg nog” at the grocery store has other ingredients that attempt to provide a little of the tang that the booze gives, but obviously it fails miserably (or us fanatics wouldn’t make this in multiple gallon quantities).
    My advice would be to make some with booze today and serve that to those who don’t avoid alcohol, and make up a fresh batch without alcohol to the teetotalers.

  5. 6

    Depends on how you feel about serving raw eggs to your friends. The alcohol doesn’t just act as a preservative it also initially kills any bacteria that may be in the eggs. Nowadays I think the risk is low but it’s there. Without booze the nog would keep, at best, a week. It would also change the flavor significantly, the proportions of everything are made assuming the booze.
    Taste it before you add the booze. If it’s gross just go ahead and put the booze in and your non-drinker friends will have to have something else.

  6. 8

    Ari, while I like coconut cream, not sure if it would work. You could just make a small batch, say 25% and try it. It’s not cheap to make and I would hate to make a full batch and have to pitch it. Good luck.

  7. 9

    Has anyone done a lactose free version? I’m able to find lf milk and lf half and half, but not the heavy cream. How do you think coconut cream would work as a substitute?

  8. 10

    I have also found it a bit too sweet and have just cut back on the sugar! Fantastic receipe, this will be my third year making it and I will never be able to go back to the store bought kind!!

  9. 11

    I have been making several batches this nog for a couple of years and it comes out so nice. I have safely served a small jar of the aged egg nog that was two years old and it was great. As for the thickness, I recommend that you whip up the yolks and sugar with a mixer for at least 7-8 minutes. I have actually allowed to have the mixer go for longer. It will definitely help with the thickness of the finished product after if has fermented in the fridge.

  10. 12

    Kassandra, I am not 100% sure, but I know sugar has some preservative qualities. I would recommend adding more dairy (or whipped egg whites from the freezer!) to the final product, right before drinking, rather than changing the recipe, just to be on the safe side. And if you like a thicker ‘nog, some addition whipped cream or egg whites before serving will serve two functions.

    Or it should be perfectly safe to add more booze… Just be aware that it is already pretty strong as is!

  11. 15

    I don’t like bourbon. Can I substitute 1-1/2 cups of brandy and 1-1/2 cups of dark rum instead of 1cup of each to replace the bourbon ?

  12. 18
    Sara Pernie

    So I prefer cardamom to nutmeg. It still has that turpentine aroma like nutmeg. Sailor Jerry rum, Gentlemen Jack whiskey, and a random mid quality brandy went in for alcohol. This recipe is delightful in that you can play around with things like clove, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cinnamon. Pumpkin pie spice is great or just a whisper of your favorite as a garnish. A dozen yolks seems a bit heavy to me…. Probably because it gets sipped to the point of gone in just a few weeks? Alton definitely has a five star recipe here, though!

  13. 19

    I took the liberty of substituting amaretto for the bourbon as bourbon just doesn’t agree with me. It also let me reduce the amount of sugar by about 1/4 and still retained the kick. I’m thinking about doing it again but this time using some frangelico

  14. 21
    Steve Vasquez

    Amazing eggnog. We added touch more nutmeg and a good dash of cinnamon. As for the liquors, we used dark rum, brandy and whiskey. These were less expensive liquors. There was only half and half and heavy cream in the fridge so we used 1qt half and half and pint of heavy cream. This has a nice buttery finish. Made a second batch due to fear of first batch not making it to Christmas!

  15. 23
    Sue Holbik

    W.Turner, did you add FRESHLY grated nutmeg? I did and added a little more than what the recipe called for, seems to have boosted the flavor a bit.

  16. 24
    W Turner

    I made a batch of this in January 2018. The only thing I use hard liquor for is bourbon balls for Christmas and an occasional spiked coffee, so I bought small bottles. I miss judged the Cognac and only bought a 200ml bottle of Hennessy, which is only about 3/4C. (I add that to this comment to say that my finished batch filled 3 @ 1qt Ball jars and about 1/2 the Hennessy bottle, so about 3qt + 100ml. Also, I added 1.25C of rum to make up for being short on the cognac.) I put the nog in the back of the fridge to age and took it out once a month to shake (think gently reblending, not aggressively shaking). In February, there was a good bit of separation between the alcohol and the other ingredients but by October, there wasn’t any, so that was kind of a cool side-note. On Thanksgiving, I drank the Hennessy bottle with the understanding that, if I didn’t get sick from it, I would share the other 3 quarts with everyone at the family Christmas party. I thought it tasted very good, though a little too mild on the eggnog flavor. I couldn’t really taste the alcohol, so the ‘too mild eggnog flavor’ wasn’t because it was competing with the alcohol. It tasted like mild eggnog with an alcohol after taste. I will definitely make this recipe again, but I would like to find a way to make the eggnog flavor a little stronger.

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