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Holiday Eggnog Two Ways: Cooked and No-Cook Recipes

Stephanie has published many articles on recipes, entertaining ideas, and inviting home décor.

Eggnog Is a Seasonal Treat

Every year, usually starting in early November, grocery stores start carrying eggnog in the dairy section, and coffee shops start offering delicious eggnog lattés.

Rich and creamy, eggnog is thicker than milk or cream, and it has a unique flavor that many people associate with the holidays.

Eggnog "season" is a short one, usually lasting only to New Year's.

How Do You Like Your Eggnog?

  • Nonalcoholic vs. spiked: Eggnog can easily be a nonalcoholic drink—or you can add brandy, cognac, or rum for a boozy winter cocktail.
  • Rich vs. less guilty: Enjoy it straight for a deliciously decadent treat. Or dilute it (and save a few calories) by cutting it with 2% milk (2 parts eggnog to 1 part milk).
  • Cold vs. warm: Eggnog is delicious served ice cold with whipped cream on top. It's equally tasty when heated in a warm and cozy mug.
  • Main attraction vs. flavoring agent: Of course everyone knows eggnog as the quintessential holiday beverage, but it's also great as a way to flavor other items from cookies and cakes to muffins and French toast. Or simply pour a dollop into your morning coffee to get into the holiday spirit.

First, though, we have to learn how to make the beverage itself. Of course you could just buy a carton at the store, but let's be honest, homemade is always better. Let's get started!

On This Page

  • No-cook, nonalcoholic eggnog recipe (with alcoholic option)
  • Cooked, nonalcoholic eggnog recipe (with alcoholic option)
  • Suggested flavorings and liqueurs
  • Ideas for what to do with leftover eggnog
  • History of eggnog
Eggnog is delicious cold or warm

Eggnog is delicious cold or warm

Easy No-Cook Eggnog Recipe (Nonalcoholic)

Because I have four children, a few pets, and a husband—not to mention a busy job—I appreciate the fact that this eggnog recipe is so easy. I don't have hours to spend over a hot stove. I want the classic taste, and I want it within an hour!

Since most of the people in my home are under the age of 21, I make our eggnog nonalcoholic. Of course, you can always add brandy, cognac, or rum to the recipe for a delicious holiday cocktail (see notes below about how to convert this to a boozy beverage).

Prep time: 20 minutes

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 egg yolks
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract or rum extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 pint heavy cream, whipped
  • 1/2 gallon / 8 cups 2% or whole milk
  • Grated nutmeg (optional garnish)

Instructions

  1. With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and powdered sugar together until smooth and slightly thickened. Add extract for flavoring and allspice and combine thoroughly.
  2. In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream with the electric mixer until soft peaks form. In a large pitcher, combine egg mixture and milk, fold in whipped cream.
  3. Refrigerate until serving and stir before pouring into glasses. Top with grated nutmeg if desired.

How to Add Alcohol

If you wish to make an alcoholic version, omit the extract and add 1/4 cup dark rum or brandy.

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Read More From Delishably

If you're concerned about raw eggs, use a cooked eggnog recipe

If you're concerned about raw eggs, use a cooked eggnog recipe

Easy Cooked Eggnog Recipe (Nonalcoholic)

Some people are concerned about the potential risks of raw eggs. If that describes you, go for this easy cooked recipe that ensures that any bacteria is killed. Enjoy your winter drink without worry!

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups 2% or whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional garnish)

Instructions

  1. Combine the eggs and granulated sugar in a saucepan, whisking together. Add milk. Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  2. Place the saucepan in a large bowl of iced water and stir until the mixture is cool. Refrigerate.
  3. Use an electric mixer to combine the heavy cream and powdered sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Stir in rum extract, then fold the whipped cream mixture into the cooled custard.
  4. Pour eggnog into a serving bowl, or ladle into individual glasses. Sprinkle with nutmeg, if desired.

How to Add Alcohol

Making this alcoholic is easy! Simply substitute omit the rum extract and add 1/2 cup rum.

Good Housekeeping's Eggnog Recipe

Suggested Flavorings and Liqueurs for Eggnog

Feel free to experiment with your own favorite flavors in your eggnog. Try adding one to two teaspoons of any one of the following:

  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Cinnamon
  • Peppermint extract
  • Almond extract

Alcoholic eggnog is a favorite winter drink and fun to serve at parties. Try two to three ounces of any of these liquors per serving:

  • Rum, regular or spiced
  • Brandy, regular or flavored
  • Coffee liqueur
  • Single malt scotch
Eggnog snickerdoodle cookies

Eggnog snickerdoodle cookies

What to Do With Leftover Eggnog

In our house we rarely have leftover eggnog, but if you do, there are tons of great ideas for how you can use it in other recipes.

Because the drink is made with milk, eggs, cream, and sugar, it makes an excellent base for breakfast recipes like French toast, pancakes, and muffins. Some recipes for cookies, scones, cupcakes, cheesecake, and fudge can also incorporate eggnog. You can even use it in pie crust!

This time of year, consider using eggnog for any recipe you would otherwise stir in milk or cream. Try adding it to hot oatmeal or other cereal. Make a bread pudding or rice pudding with eggnog instead of milk. Of course, eggnog is great stirred into coffee or tea, as well.

The origins of this boozy holiday drink go back to the 1600s

The origins of this boozy holiday drink go back to the 1600s

History of Eggnog

There are a number of legends that purport to reveal the historic roots of eggnog. Some believe that American colonists imported a milk and wine punch from England and then replaced the wine with rum. Because another word for rum was "grog," egg and grog soon became shortened to "eggnog."

Hundreds of years before settlers arrived in the New World, people in England were drinking "egg flip," a milk punch mixed with alcohol, beer, and spices. Originally, the concoction was made for medicinal purposes, but over the years, it became a drink to toast the health of celebrants. Due to the lack of refrigeration, milk could not be kept long, so egg flip or eggnog had to be consumed immediately and usually was only enjoyed by the wealthy.

Another theory on the history of eggnog is that the word is derived from "noggin," which is a wooden mug historically used to serve drinks at taverns. While eggnog has been around for many years, since at least the 1600s, there are many recipes and derivations of the original drink with an egg and cream/milk base, fortified with wine or liquor. The classic winter cocktail, the Tom and Jerry, is closely related to eggnog.

President George Washington was reputably a big fan of eggnog, making an especially fortified version that only the bravest of souls would try during the holiday season. According to Food & Wine, Washington's version included whiskey, rye, rum, and sherry.

No matter its origins, eggnog today is enjoyed widely as a traditional holiday drink.

More About Eggnog

© 2011 Stephanie Marshall

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