We grew up with eggnog, the kind you buy in a carton, and every Christmas holiday we kids drank up as much of it as we could. I didn’t even know that eggnog was a “spiked” drink until well into my adult years. So this recipe is only lightly spiked; feel free to increase the rum and bourbon to your heart’s delight, or omit altogether if it’s for the kids. Is eggnog part of your family holiday tradition? If so, how do you like it – spiked or virgin? with whipped egg whites or without?

Eggnog Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 1 quart. Serves 4-6.


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 whole cloves
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp each of bourbon and rum or brandy, or to taste (can omit for kid-friendly eggnog)
  • *4 egg whites (optional)


1 In a large bowl, use a whisk or an electric mixer to beat egg yolks until they become somewhat lighter in color. Slowly add the sugar, beating after each addition, whisking until fluffy.

2 Combine the milk, cloves, and cinnamon in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Slowly heat on medium heat until the milk mixture is steamy hot, but not boiling.

3 Temper the eggs by slowly adding half of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly while you add the hot mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

4 Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to thicken slightly, and coats the back of the spoon. It helps to have a candy thermometer, but not necessary; if you have one, cook until the mixture reaches 160°F. Do not allow the mixture to boil, or it will curdle. (If the mixture does curdle you may be able to save it by running it through a blender.) Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove the cloves. Let cool for one hour.

5 Mix in vanilla extract, nutmeg, and bourbon/rum and brandy (feel free to omit for kid-friendly eggnog). Chill.

*Optional: Beat egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Add a teaspoon of sugar and continue to beat until they reach stiff peaks. Gently fold into eggnog. Note, because of the salmonella risk from raw eggs, it is recommended that children, elderly, and people with compromised immune systems refrain from eating raw eggs such as the optional whipped egg whites in this recipe, unless you use pasteurized eggs.

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Eggnog Pound Cake
Eggnog cupcakes from Nic at Baking Bites
Eggnog pancakes from Amy of Cooking with Amy
Michael Ruhlman's eggnog
Eggnog: a Potent Family Tradition - essay and recipe from Kevin Weeks


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Showing 4 of 37 Comments

  • Jaden

    I just found the pasteurized eggs at Super Walmart this weekend!

  • June

    We had the cartons of eggnog in the daytime, I would always put milk in my glasses too as it was so rich.

    My special memories are when my Dad used to get this wonderful batter – called Tom and Jerry mix – that he would mix with boiling water. The adults would get brandy and something – the kids would just get whipped cream. It was wonderful stuff. About ten years ago I had with banana rum and it was the best. I can’t find the batter anymore now though, so I might give your recipe a try!

    Thanks for all your lovely ideas – I look forward to seeing what you discover in 2008.

    : )


  • Paul

    June, I saw your comment on Tom and Jerry punch. It’s funny, but last week I took a wander through Elise’s fabulous site and links to some of her fellow food bloggers. In my travels, I came across a wonderful entry on Tom and Jerry, which I can’t find now (should have tagged it!), but if you search “Tom and Jerry drink” on Google you will find history and recipes.


  • Natanya

    I grew up with boiled custard, a Southern traditional alternative to eggnog. Boiled custard was apparently so popular in the south that,according to my mother, prepared boiled custard was available on store shelves in the same way eggnog was available elsewhere in the country. The consistency of boiled custard is much thicker than eggnog and instead of folding in whipped egg whites, you fold in whipped cream, which adds some lightness to the drink but leaves it creamy. The spiked version uses Kentucky Bourbon of course – and once I was old enough to have adult beverages, I came to appreciate boiled custard even more.

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