Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman


I am traveling once again, but when I arrive back home I’ll be making my aged eggnog in preparation for the holidays. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.



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 2016. 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:

© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


28 Wonderful responses to “Holiday Classic: Aged Eggnog”

  • Rosemary

    What bourbon and brandy do you recommend? Will you really taste the difference with higher end ones with all that mile and cream?

    • Allen

      I like to use Bookers, Ron Zacapa 23 rum, Flor de Cana 18 rum, Claude Chatelier XO cognac, fresh grated nutmeg and just a little fresh vanilla bean. They will only get better.

    • Michael Ruhlman

      I chose Dickle this year. Chef Sawyer did one with oban single malt which goes really well with cream. depends on your palate. if it is especially discerning, then spend more on the bourbon. I do not have a discerning palate when it comes to spirits as I like pretty much everything except kamchatka vodka (which has ugly sweet notes to it–how can this be).

  • Mark Stone

    I’ve had mine aging in the fridge a couple months. It seems to want to separate if left alone so I shake it every couple days. I took a spoonful last night though and it was both delicious and insanely boozy.

  • Heather olsson

    This is a new one for me….I’m going out tomorrow to buy the ingredients!

  • Allen

    Every time I see this photo, I think of that line from the movie “The Graduate”:
    ” Mrs. Ruhlman, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?”
    One of your best Donna!
    I always keep some in the fridge all year, I find it gets thicker and better with time, and a great way to use premium bourbon and rum, shared with loved ones, friends and family at special times. Even subs for ice cream in the summer.
    Cheers, happy Friday all!

  • BarbinDC

    What about freezing the egg whites and then thawing them out to add to the nog, instead of whipped cream? Will frozen whites even whip?

    • James O.


      Not MR, here, but I can answer: yes, frozen whites will whip, but you really want fresh. Really, the difference is noticeable.

      Besides, why whouldn’t you use the whites shortly after you separate them? Angelfood cake is pretty easy — so are merengue cookies.

    • Michael Ruhlman

      freezing is fine. in fact, sebastien, exec chef of bouchon bakery prefers frozen as they behave better for meringues.

    • abby

      See the CHOW link above — that recipe uses the egg whites, frozen and subsequently thawed and whipped.

  • Adele K

    So decadent and fattening but who could resist trying this! Can’t wait.
    Thanks Michael

  • Don

    Wow!!! Now that I’ve come to realize I could drink this and live, I need to make this. Thanks for the great post.

  • Allen

    In regards to previous blog you mentioned Amazon is harming authors, could you tell me how? Does this apply to Kindle books? I love electronic books, my old tattered cook books will tell you the same. Please say it’s ok to get Kindle books.

    • Michael Ruhlman

      amazon and hachette are in a feud over the price hachette (the co that owns my publisher, little brown) is charging for ebooks. amazon thus does not discount hachette books, hides them from view when you search for some of them, and delays shipping for up to three weeks. pls go indie or non-amazon. amazon too powerful

      • James O


        It’s just e-books, right?

        You get full payment on paper-books — correct?

  • Bill

    My family has been making a recipe similar to this for years, except we end up doing twice the volume with only a little more booze and use the entire egg. And we don’t age it. Still turns out delicious though!

  • Nick P

    I tried this last year and it was amazing. Really developed texture over the weeks. I am going to try canning it this time, does anyone have an estimate of final volume for these measures?

  • Lincoln Marquis

    Looks great – now I’m intrigued! I make one based on the following that is attributed to George Washington: “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.” I’ve never been able to leave it alone for more than a couple of days.

  • Adam

    Is there a noticeable difference in the Eggnog between using pasteurized and non-pasteurized eggs?

  • Chris DeNoia


    Do you prefer this recipe or the one in Egg?
    The one in Egg has less sugar and minus the rum.

  • bill.

    I made two batches, bottled two weeks ago in a bunch of cobalt blue EZ cap pint bottles. Giving about half away as Christmas gifts. I did refill one of the liter whiskey bottle and stuck it in the back of the fridge with the plan to age it a year.

  • Gavin

    Last year before Christmas I made some that has been aging and patiently waiting all year long. However, last year, before I made the batch there was a little, maybe a cup or so, of leftover from the year before. All of which is to say that this year’s eggnog will have not only eggnog made in 2013 but also a tiny amount made in 2012. As will the iteration meant to be consumed in late 2015.

  • Liga

    Just mixed mine up. Put it up in 3 quart sized Ball jars and a pint sized one. OMG OMG OMG! It tastes FANTASTIC! There’s no way that even one jar is going to make it to next year, let alone the following year.

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