Holiday Eggnog

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This is a slightly more labor-intensive eggnog recipe than I’ve made in the past, but it’s worth the little extra work. It’s very creamy and the whipped egg whites separate much less than most eggnogs, which is a big plus to me. I’ve also never seen a cooked recipe before so I was excited to give it a go. I’ve actually cobbled this recipe from The New York Times, Michael Ruhlman and just a bit from my mother’s recipe. For a more custardy recipe, add more eggs. Personally I like it thick enough for the whipped bits to stay suspended, but not so heavy that it’s like drinking custard. This recipe seemed to strike a nice balance. Additionally, if you’re nervous about raw egg whites, you can omit them and go full on custard, at which point I  would cook the ¾ cup of cream with the milk and eggs.

As for spirits, I like to add them to the glass and not the entire eggnog recipe (unless I’m aging it, which is a different story), that way people can pick which liquor they like best or just experiment or I’ll just separate the batch into smaller ones.  I used Bulleit for the Bourbon and Zaya for the Rum. Any rum light or dark would work, but Zaya is one of the best rums in the Memphis market and has so much cream, vanilla and sugar cane notes that its like drinking dessert before you even add the eggnog. The Bulleit is my go-to Bourbon for most mixed drinks and it complimented the drink nicely. I actually wanted to try it with the Elmer T. Lee Bourbon as it’s a bit more creamy and brown-sugary, but I had the Bulleit at home, so that was that and now I have a good reason to make it again! Between the two, the Zaya was the hands down winner. Of course, if you’re not sure what you to use, just ask. We always have recommendations!

Eggnog with bourbon and rum

Here's the eggnog in front of the Bulleit Bourbon and Zaya rum. The Zaya was great in the eggnog.

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Vanilla Bean
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, to be poured in
  • 1 cup heavy cream for whipping
  • 1-2 oz of bourbon, rum or brandy per serving (or more! Add as much holiday cheer as enjoyed!)
  • Whole nutmeg


1. Heat 2 cups milk but don’t boil. Turn off the heat.

2. In a mixing bowl, gradually add the sugar into the egg yolks and whisk until thick and pale.

3. Whisk 1 cup of the warm milk into the yolk-sugar mixture. Add this back to the milk in the pan, stirring over low heat until thickened and blended. Turn off the heat and quickly stir in the cream (3/4 cup).

4. Place pan in a large bowl and chill. When chilled, strain into bowl. If you’re going to add the liquor to the entire recipe, then add it now.

5. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks; then do the same with the whipping cream (1 cup). Fold them both into the Eggnog. If you let your guests add their own liquor, then serve as is with the liquors on the side.

6. Top each serving with grated nutmeg.


For variations, I would love to try it with cinnamon, clove or cardamom instead of vanilla, though I have a feeling they might be a bit too overwhelming.

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