Traditional Eggnog Recipe

This easy, old-fashioned eggnog recipe is made with cooked eggs (which means it’s safe to drink!), rum, whiskey, vanilla, sugar, and cream. The classic Christmas cocktail is a guaranteed hit at every holiday get-together and only takes 15 minutes to prepare, so bust out your favorite Christmas sweater and get your punch bowl ready!

Two glasses half-filled with eggnog and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

I cannot think about eggnog without the vision of Clark Griswold plunging his reindeer mug into a vat of eggnog in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation dashing through my head. Such an iconic movie and one I’ve seen countless times.

Many, many years ago, I decided that I needed to make some honest-to-goodness, homemade eggnog that was properly spiked while still being creamy and delicious. It ticked off all three of those boxes, and I couldn’t wait to incorporate it into our holiday festivities.

I’ve made a lot of recipes that use eggnog since then, and it’s definitely worth showcasing the star itself; homemade eggnog is a festive addition to any holiday party and easier to make than you’d think.

An overhead shot of a glass of eggnog with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top.

Let’s Make Eggnog From Scratch!

The base of this homemade eggnog is actually started in much the same way as an ice cream custard, with the exception that whole eggs are used here, while only egg yolks are typically used for ice cream. The egg, sugar and cream mixture is cooked over low heat until thickened, then strained to keep it super smooth, and once allowed to cool a bit, the rum, whiskey, and vanilla are added.

Finally, a little more heavy cream is beat to soft peaks and folded into the eggnog mixture to lighten it up and make it ultra-creamy. Add a sprinkle of nutmeg, and it’s ready!

A series of three photos showing the custard base of eggnog.

A photo collage of making eggnog.

Egg-cellent Eggnog Tips

Get ready to be the hit of your party when you serve up this homemade eggnog; below are a few tips to make it juuuuuust right…

  • This eggnog is definitely strong; if you prefer it less boozy, you can cut back on the alcohol.
  • If you want to make this completely non-alcoholic, you can simply omit the alcohol.
  • Rum – I like dark rum in eggnog (Myers’s is what I usually buy), but spiced rum would also be fabulous.
  • Whiskey – I typically use Crown Royal, but use what you like or keep on hand.
  • Other Alcohol – You can switch up the ratios based on your personal preferences; feel free to swap in others like bourbon, Cognac, scotch, or brandy, as well. And how about a little peppermint schnapps for a festive flavor?!
  • Make-Ahead – This eggnog can be prepared and refrigerated for up to 3 days (great for preparing for a party!). Be sure to whisk well before serving.

Three glasses of eggnog with a cinnamon stick and a bowl of grated nutmeg.

Traditional Eggnog Recipe

Servings 12 servings
Prep 15 minutes
Total 15 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Author: Michelle

This easy, old-fashioned eggnog recipe is made with cooked eggs, rum, whiskey, vanilla, sugar, and cream. The classic Christmas cocktail is a guaranteed hit at every holiday get-together!

Ingredients:

  • cups
    heavy cream
    (divided)
  • 6
    eggs
  • cups
    granulated sugar
  • Pinch
    kosher salt
  • ¼
    cup
    dark rum
  • ½
    cup
    whiskey
  • 1
    teaspoon
    vanilla extract
  • 1
    teaspoon
    freshly grated nutmeg
    (plus more for garnish)

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat 2½ cups of the cream over medium-low heat until it begins to simmer around the edges of the pan (do not let it boil).
  2. While the cream is heating, whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Ladle out 1 cup of the warm cream mixture and slowly pour it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Scrape all of the egg mixture into the saucepan. Continue to cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula, a few minutes. The mixture should register 160 to 165 degrees F on an instant-read digital thermometer.

  3. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and allow to cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the rum, whiskey, vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of the freshly grated nutmeg.
  4. Whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the eggnog mixture, making sure the whipped cream is completely incorporated. Serve immediately, topping each serving with a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg. The eggnog can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Be sure to gently whisk before serving.

Recipe Notes:

  • This eggnog is definitely strong; if you prefer it less boozy, you can cut back on the alcohol.
  • If you want to make this completely non-alcoholic, you can simply omit the alcohol.
  • Rum - I like dark rum in eggnog (Myers's is what I usually buy), but spiced rum would also be fabulous.
  • Whiskey - I typically use Crown Royal, but use what you like or keep on hand.
  • Other Alcohol - You can switch up the ratios based on your personal preferences; feel free to swap in others like bourbon, Cognac, scotch, or brandy, as well. And how about a little peppermint schnapps for a festive flavor?!
  • Make-Ahead - This eggnog can be prepared and refrigerated for up to 3 days (great for preparing for a party!). Be sure to whisk well before serving.
Nutritional values are based on one 4-ounce drink.

Nutrition:

Calories: 406kcal
Fat: 28g
Saturated fat: 17g
Cholesterol: 177mg
Sodium: 58mg
Potassium: 82mg
Carbohydrates: 27g
Fiber: 1g
Sugar: 25g
Protein: 4g
Vitamin A: 1139%
Vitamin C: 1%
Calcium: 57%
Iron: 1%

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Recipe from The Pastry Queen Christmas

Update Notes: This recipe was originally published in December 2013; updated in December 2019 with new photos and extra recipe tips.

[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]