Photo by Donna, cooked eggnog with meringue and nutmeg

Cooked eggnog with meringue and nutmeg. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Plan ahead!

Not long after I began this blog in 2006, I wrote about and made aged eggnog upon reading about it at CHOW. Two years later Donna photographed it. A year after that, we finished the batch. It was a little funky and that was part of its deliciousness.

I’m writing about it now so that you can, if you plan ahead, make it this weekend or next, for this holiday season, and the next, and, if you have the discipline, for December 2015. It needs at least 30 days for the aged flavor and for the alcohol to take care of any bacteria. After that it will keep for a long long time.

Jonathon Sawyer liked it so much he began experimenting with different whiskeys. Last one I tried he’d use Oban, an excellent single malt that pairs well with cream.

Thus the Friday cocktail is a good whiskey, on the rocks, to enjoy after you make next year’s batch of aged eggnog.

Aged Eggnog

  • 12 yolks (save whites for angel food cake!)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 liter bourbon
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup Cognac or brandy
  • 1/2 cup Myers’s dark rum
  • pinch of kosher salt

The Eggnog

  1. Combine the yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until well blended and creamy.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a 1-gallon glass jar and tightly seal the lid. (Alternatively, you can bottle it.) Place in the refrigerator for at least 3 weeks and up to 3 years (or till it’s as you like it!).
  4. Serve topped with sweet meringue and nutmeg if you wish.

If you liked this post, take a look at these links:

© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.

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26 Wonderful responses to “Friday Cocktail Hour: Aged Eggnog”

  • Shannon

    I love eggnog! My former boss and owner of a company I once worked for was the great-granson of novelist Winston Churchill. My boss held company Christmas parties at his home every year and always made his great-grandfather’s favorite eggnog based on George Washington’s recipe:

    “One quart cream, one quart milk, one dozen tablespoons sugar, one pint brandy, 1/2 pint rye whiskey, 1/2 pint Jamaica rum, 1/4 pint sherry—mix liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.”

    (Based on further research, 12 eggs were decidedly the rule of thumb). It was delicious. I am more than willing to try your recipe too. Anything in the name of ‘eggnog’.

    • Michael Ruhlman

      that wasn’t clear and I’ve fixed it. the studies I read back when said that the bacteria would be eliminated pretty much completely after 3 weeks (but if you handed me a glassful immediately after mixing, I’d happily drink it!).

  • allen

    I made a batch of eggnog yesterday to go with the venison mincemeat that I just made for the first time:

    http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/341/venison-mincemeat.html?smid=pl-share

    Such a coincidence, as I just caught a clip of you on YouTube, eating bear sausage with Steve Rinella, who inspired me (along with my mother in law – who will be making her lovely lattice crust for the pie) to make authentic mincemeat.
    This was the first photo I saw on this blog, a martini glass filled with 1 year old eggnog and fresh grated nutmeg, the original gangster, described as bourbon infused Irish cream, knew I had to try it.

    I’ve made plenty since, three years was as long as I could keep it, not because of fear of it going bad – because it’s so friggin good!

    A little tip for first timers, make a double batch to give out as gifts, then double everything again.
    Now make a large batch of check mix party snacks to give out as gifts instead of the eggnog, so you can keep all the eggnog for yourself. You won’t regret it!
    Cheers!

  • allen

    Yes, tapping into 2 day old aged eggnog. Any tips on countering the effect of too much nutmeg?

    I used fresh grated, very fresh nutmeg that I bought in the West Indies.

    Numbs the mouth.

    My only solution is to make a double batch again, mix to dilute. I’ve added fresh cut vanilla bean, helps a little.
    Correct pronunciation. Actual is:
    ” Heps a lil.”
    Ruhlman!!! Gett’n me trashed again…

  • Suzi

    What do you do with the egg whites? I’ve never had egg nog before, so this is all new to me!

  • Greg Burkhart

    Why does the photo caption say “cooked” eggnog?

    I am making a double batch today. Looking forward to it!

  • Mark W. Bennett

    Why only “up to three years?” Refrigerated and aseptic, wouldn’t it keep for damn near forever, if I had the discipline?

    For that matter, if it’ll keep for three years refrigerated, is refrigeration really necessary after the first thirty days?

  • Tyson

    I too am wondering why the caption for the photo says it is “cooked”?

  • Dana R.

    What would be a good brand, medium priced bourbon and cognac to use without breaking the bank? I don’t know my liquors. Three years of aging doesn’t deserve cheap liquor, but can’t afford the expensive stuff.

    • Greg Burkhart

      I have always used Maker’s Mark to make mint juleps, so I used that. I think it is a better than average bourbon and isn’t overly pricy.

  • Tom

    I made a half batch of this last week, inspired by your post. It’s in a jar in the back of the fridge, and it seems to have separated into a cheesy off-white upper section, and a semi-transparent yellowish lower section. Is that normal? Do you think I should agitate it every once in a while, perhaps to make sure the alcohol is well-dispersed?

  • Hugh

    I’ve been eagerly anticipating the last two bottles (repurposed Grolsch swingtops) of last years batch that have been aging in the back of the fridge. This year I hope to double production so I can age some for two years and beyond.

  • Greg Burkhart

    The CHOW recipe you link to references adding the whipped egg whites and some whipped heavy cream prior to serving. Do you recommend serving without this step?

  • Laura

    Aged eggnog-mini trend? When you’ve fermented it all try this for the ultimate experience. I didn’t notice the caption about it being “cooked” but it probably refers to the alcohol cooking the eggs/milk just as lime juice “cooks” the raw fish in ceviche. I will definitely try this. Very baddass drink.

  • allen

    He has a recipe for cooked eggnog as well.

    That is where the lovely photo is from, the original photo was a martini glass, this one is from the cooked eggnog post and a much nicer photo.

    The whipped egg whites, cream and nutmeg are all optional to taste as you like.

    I even put a vanilla bean in during aging to mimic an expensive bourbon, like Bookers, Bakers or Pappy Van Winkle – or fine sipping rum like Ron Zacapa, Ron Pomparo or Fleur De Cana and XO cognac.

    Or just use the good stuff, it is usually consumed during special occasions with close friends and loved ones, so get the best you can afford – or better.

    You’ll not find a better use, and it makes the special times a little more special.

    • Greg Burkhart

      Thanks allen, very helpful tips. I am aging mine in 1 qt. Ball jars (as they are presently not holding moonshine).

  • Brett

    Anyone have a good recommendation for an ideal 1-gal glass jar to use for this recipe? Thank you!

    • allen

      Use the 1.75 ltr bottle the bourbon was in, plus a1 ltr bottle, they are already very clean from the alcohol and won’t impart other flavors.

      I used bale top but they are a pain to clean, although they are great for gift presentation.

  • ron

    I’d like to make this for a party within a week. Could I pasteurize the yolks sous-vide first to be safe, or would that affect the texture?

  • BW

    I drink it after about 4 weeks and it was really good. So much more complex than other egg nogs I had, even though the ingredients seem the same.

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