Homemade Eggnog: A Traditional Recipe for a Holiday Favorite

Homemade Eggnog
If you love eggnog, try this homemade eggnog for a traditional Christmas cocktail. Jim Jurica/E+/Getty Images
  • 8 hrs 25 mins
  • Prep: 8 hrs 25 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 16 servings
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Eggnog is a holiday classic and it is a favorite party drink when the Christmas season rolls around each year. While there are many ways to make eggnog, few recipes are as traditional as this one which features brandy and fresh eggs. 

A made-from-scratch eggnog is far superior to any ready-to-drink, just-add-booze options you can buy at the supermarket. It is also easier than many people have been led to believe. If you know how to beat eggs and have a basic stock of kitchen essentials, you can make a great eggnog.

This is a perfect recipe for larger parties and it is one that has been enjoyed by revelers for centuries. Though it does require a bit of patience and time (no more than those baked goodies you whip up), it is well worth the effort and sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

What You'll Need

How to Make It

  1. Beat the egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla together until it is very thick and has a light yellow color.
  2. Slowly beat in the brandy and milk.
  3. Cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Shortly before serving, beat the egg whites to soft peaks.
  5. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat this mixture to soft peaks again, creating a meringue-like cream.
  6. Slowly pour this cream over the chilled brandy mixture, folding it in gently.
  1. Serve the eggnog in a mug, Irish coffee glass, or punch cup and grate nutmeg over the top for a garnish.

Tips for Making Great Eggnog From Scratch

Choose your booze. While brandy is a favorite and one of the more traditional liquors used in eggnog, it is not the only option. Rum and whiskey are also popular alternatives, though I have found in a taste test that brandy did make a more appealing eggnog overall.

Make sure you're using the freshest eggs. We have all heard the warnings about drinking raw eggs and the potential for salmonella. Yet, you don't have to let that scare you away from this Christmas classic. With proper attention to the freshness and quality of your eggs and how you handle them, your eggnog should be perfectly safe for guests.

Choose the eggnog recipe for you. Eggnog is one of those drinks that people either love or hate and many people fall into the latter category. If you are one of those haters, I encourage you to explore the many eggnog recipes that are available. It is quite possible that you have not yet found the 'nog that's right for you.

How Strong is Eggnog?

Eggnog also has a reputation for being too strong and it has been known to get more than a few holiday party guests, well, schnockered. In most cases, this is because the drink has too much liquor thanks to a 'generous' host. This is never the best idea for punch-style drinks because your guests don't know how potent it is and it's easy for them to have one glass too many with buffoonery and general embarrassment to follow.

In this recipe, the two cups of brandy are perfect when serving about 16 small glasses of eggnog. With an 80-proof brandy, it works up to around 18% ABV (36 proof), which is about average for a good cocktail. Besides, most people will only have one or two glasses before turning to another drink  because you can only have so much nog!