We know, we know, this recipe sounds sketchier than an email banking scam, but it’s anything but.
Our Editor In Chief, Aida, first came across this aged eggnog recipe back when she ran the Test Kitchen at CHOW magazine, and she was immediately intrigued.
She didn’t grow up in a family that served eggnog during the holiday season and had certainly never made eggnog from scratch. Never mind a recipe where the eggnog base ages for weeks (or months!) on end.
The Problem With Most Eggnog
Here at Salt & Wind Travel, we tend toward dessert recipes and cocktails that aren’t too sweet as such eggnog has never really fit in – because most recipes are too sweet, too heavy, and just too over the top. Simply put, most eggnog recipes are unbalanced and make it, so it’s hard to take more than a few sips.
Best Aged Eggnog Cocktail Recipe
- 12 eggs large, very fresh, and high-quality
- 1 3/4 unrefined cane sugar
- 1 quart whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream divided
- 3 cups Irish whisky or Bourbon
- 2 cups dark rum
- 1 cup Cognac Armagnac or Spiced Pear Liqueur also works
- 1 pinch sea salt
- ice for serving
- nutmeg freshly grated for garnish
Preparing The Eggnog Base
- Separate the egg yolks and white, then place the egg whites in a clean and airtight container and freeze until the eggnog is ready to serve. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in the very clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk until well blended, thickened, light yellow, and creamy.Whisk in all the milk and 1 cup of the cream until well mixed. Whisk in all the alcohol and a pinch of salt, then transfer to a 1-gallon glass jar and tightly seal the lid.Place in the coldest part of your refrigerator and check on it every few days. Stir it or carefully turn the bottle a few times to mix everything well. Let it age for at least ten days and up to 3 weeks.12 eggs, 1 3/4 unrefined cane sugar, 1 quart whole milk, 2 cups heavy cream, 3 cups Irish whisky, 2 cups dark rum, 1 cup Cognac, 1 pinch sea salt
The Night Before Serving
- Place the frozen egg whites in the refrigerator to thaw. Before serving, let the egg whites come to room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Place the egg whites in the very clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a large punch bowl.
- Place the remaining 1 cup cream in the stand mixer bowl (no need to wash the bowl) and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form about 1 minute. Remove to the punch bowl. Stir the eggnog base with a rubber spatula to re-combine, then add it to the punch bowl.Gently whisk the cream and egg whites into the eggnog until just combined and no large pockets of whites or cream remain (do not over whisk, or you'll deflate the eggnog). Serve in punch cups over ice, if desired, and garnished with grated nutmeg.ice, nutmeg
The Key To Aged Eggnog
But then we tried this aged eggnog recipe, which we can promise you is unlike any other eggnog you’ve ever come across. The key is aging the eggnog because it allows the flavors to mellow and meld together.
The result is that, instead of the overly sweet, booze-filled stuff you’ve tried before, this eggnog is balanced and flavorful but still with a decent boozy kick. And the addition of whipped egg whites and whipped cream just before serving? Well, that makes it also seem lighter and less intense than the stuff you get in the carton at the store.
How Far Advance Can You Make Aged Eggnog?
We’ve heard of people aging eggnog for years at a time, but the longest we’ve gone is one year. Yes, that was one year of the eggnog in a sealed container and at a constant state of 40°F or colder. The result is distinct, an acquired taste as it ups the “eggnog” flavors, and the booze is almost undetectable.
All that said, we like it best when it has aged between 2 1/2 weeks up to one month. Our go-to schedule is to make a batch the weekend after Thanksgiving and then let it age until Christmas Eve. That few-week period seems to be the perfect amount of time to mellow it out so that it’s creamy, a bit sweet, and boozy but not too much of any of those things.
How To Safely Make This Recipe
Speaking of keeping things cold and safe, we have a few tips for you to make this eggnog safely.
Keep It Cold
As you let it age, you’ll want to tuck it into the back corner of your fridge where it’s cold but not frozen. If you have a refrigerator thermometer, keep it near the eggnog and make sure your refrigerator stays nice and cool (say 35°F to 38°F).
Use Uber Fresh High-Quality Eggs
This is still a drink made with raw eggs, so you should buy the freshest eggs you can get, and be extra clean when handling all the raw ingredients.
Don’t Serve Raw Eggs To Anyone Of Compromised Health
A little reminder that raw eggs are never a good idea for pregnant women, the elderly, little ones (who, of course, shouldn’t be tippling on the eggnog in the first place), or anyone else whose health is compromised. The good news is that eggnog has so much alcohol that the risk for contamination is very minimal, and, yes, the alcohol also helps to make aging the eggnog safe.
Keep The Sugar And Alcohol As-Is
Finally, do not change the total amounts of sugar or alcohol in this recipe as they are the key to keeping it food safe. We have found that this recipe needs to stay above 20% ABV, which works out to just over 5 cups of total alcohol for these types of liquor. If you want to lower the sugar and alcohol, you’ll have to use pasteurized eggs or cook the base (by constantly stirring as you cook it over a double boiler until it reaches 180°F) to make sure it’s super safe!
How To Serve This Eggnog
We like to serve this in a punch bowl with a big block of ice as part of our annual holiday party. Some guests like to drink it the whole night, while others have it as a liquid dessert. If you want to get extra festive, you could add some spices like cinnamon sticks, star anise, and maybe apple rings to the ice block but remember whatever you add to it will eventually melt and end up in the eggnog.
Other Recipes You’ll Like
Here are a few other holiday recipes you may want to make too: