Rich and creamy, this Homemade Eggnog is spiked with rum to make the most delicious eggnog cocktail. It’s made with tempered egg yolks for a thick, creamy texture and served topped with whipped cream for a decadent holiday drink.
An Easy Eggnog Cocktail Recipe
One sign that the holidays are near is the appearance of eggnog in the grocery stores. It seems to appear out of nowhere, then bam! There it is. While I’ve certainly enjoyed my fair share of store-bought eggnog, there is nothing that compares to this homemade version.
Thick and creamy with a subtle warm flavor, this homemade eggnog recipe is one I look forward to making every holiday season. This recipe does contain alcohol, but it’s easy to make a kid-friendly version, too. It’s great for parties but equally as good as a dessert drink any night of the week.
What is Eggnog?
Eggnog, which was originally known as milk punch, is a thick, creamy drink typically served around the holidays. It’s traditionally made with egg (just yolks or whipped egg whites and yolks), cream, and milk, then seasoned with vanilla and warm spices. Many eggnog ingredients lists, including this one, also include some sort of liquor.
You can find it in the stores around the holiday season but I prefer to make my own homemade version.
A lot of eggnog recipes either eliminate the egg yolks or incorporate them without cooking. Our version includes egg, which gives the eggnog a richer taste and thicker consistency, but we also temper them with the hot liquid (much like how we make our Tapioca Pudding and Rice Pudding.)
What You’ll Need
If you’ve ever wondered what’s in eggnog, the answer is just a few ingredients! This homemade eggnog recipe has just 8 ingredients, plus optional garnishes.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Egg: You’ll need just the yolk for this recipe. (But don’t toss the egg whites! See notes for how to use them.)
- Granulated sugar: For sweetness.
- Heavy whipping cream: Helps make your eggnog thick and creamy.
- Whole milk: Eggnog is best with whole milk, though you could use 2% in a pinch. I would avoid skim milk or other dairy alternatives.
- Nutmeg: Adds a warm flavor to the drink. You can also add extra as a garnish.
- Salt: Just a pinch heightens the other flavors.
- Rum: Rum is our liquor of choice, but you can’t go wrong with brandy or bourbon, either.
- Vanilla extract: For flavor.
- Whipped cream: For serving.
How to Make Eggnog
Making homemade eggnog is actually quite easy, just be sure to leave plenty of time for it to chill.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for complete instructions.)
- Whisk the eggs. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy.
- Make the cream mixture. Combine the cream, milk, nutmeg, and salt over medium-high heat, stirring until the mixture is steaming. Do not let it boil.
- Temper the eggs. Add a big spoonful of the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously. Repeat, adding a big spoonful at a time. Once most of the hot milk has been added, pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Whisk for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly.
- Cool. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients. Stir in the alcohol and vanilla.
- Chill. Transfer to a pitcher. Refrigerate until chilled, a minimum of 3 hours.
Tips & FAQs
For the best homemade eggnog, keep the following things in mind.
- What alcohol goes in eggnog? Common choices of alcohol to add to an eggnog cocktail include brandy, rum, bourbon, and whiskey.
- Can I make this without alcohol? Yes, for a non-alcoholic eggnog, omit the alcohol. Everything else stays the same.
- Thin out the eggnog. If you want a thinner, completely smooth consistency, blend the entire mixture with 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk until smooth.
- Don’t add the hot milk too quickly. To avoid having pieces of cooked egg in your eggnog, you want to temper the eggs, being sure to add the hot milk mixture slowly and whisk it vigorously as you add it.
I like to serve my eggnog cocktail with piped homemade whipped cream and a dash of freshly grated nutmeg. This really makes it a decadent holiday cocktail, perfect for enjoying after dinner. If I’m serving it up at a party, I’ll thin it out a bit and pour it directly from the pitcher.
How to Store
- How long does homemade eggnog last? Homemade eggnog, with or without alcohol, will last for up to 3 days. It’s best the day it’s made or the following day, so I don’t recommend making it more than a day in advance. Store covered in a pitcher in the fridge.
- How to use leftover eggnog. If you find you have more eggnog than you can drink in 3 days, you can use leftover eggnog to make eggnog muffins, eggnog cookies, and eggnog bread!
More Holiday Drink Recipes:
- Mulled Wine
- Cranberry Moscow Mule
- Hot Buttered Rum
- Brandy Alexander Milkshake
- Apple Pie Moonshine
- Jack Frost Winter Cocktail
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons rum (or brandy or bourbon)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- whipped cream , for serving
- ground nutmeg , for garnish
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy.
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cream, milk, nutmeg, and salt. Stir often until mixture is steaming and reaches a bare simmer (do not let it boil.)
- Temper the eggs: Add a big spoonful of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously. Repeat, adding a big spoonful at a time.
- Once most of the hot milk has been added to the eggs, pour the mixture back into the saucepan on the stove.
- Whisk constantly for just a few minutes, until the mixture is just slightly thickened (or until it reaches about 160 degrees F on a thermometer). It will thicken more as it cools.
- Remove from heat and cool for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
- Add in the alcohol and vanilla.
- Pour the eggnog into a pitcher or other container and cover with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours. It will thicken as it cools. (If you want a thinner, completely smooth consistency, you can add the entire mixture to a blender with 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk and blend until smooth.)
- Serve with piped whipped cream and a dash of freshly grated nutmeg.NOTES: For a kid-friendly version, simply omit the alcohol – everything else stays the same. This recipe uses just the egg yolk and not the whites, but don't toss them! See below for ways to use them. Also see below for ways to use leftover eggnog. For other tips and FAQ's, please refer to the article.