Eggnog. Eggs and milk and cream and sugar.
Plus rum or brandy or bourbon or all three to give it an adult kick often lost on those who drink the premade stuff straight from the grocery store carton.
Eggnog is so rich and so creamy and so sweet that any alcohol will work. Old-school versions even call for Madeira wine or sherry—either on their own or mixed with one of the liquors above. But don’t feel constrained by tradition. Any brown alcohol is a solid option. Sure, reposado tequila is an unusual choice, but it’s been done.
Speaking of the stuff from a carton… it can be delicious, for sure, especially if you seek out versions made without thickeners or artificial color from local dairies. It cannot compare, however, with the amazing fresh flavor of homemade nog with only fresh eggs and dairy for flavor and the magic of agitation and time for thickening.
Note: most eggnog recipes call for raw eggs. Use pasteurized eggs or eggs from a reputable seller. Some people say all the alcohol kills anything that might bother you, but that’s not guaranteed and people with various immune system issues may decide not to risk it.
This classic nog calls for a month of aging. Yes, a month. Yes, that’s pretty traditional. Yes, there are even recipes that call for starting off a nog for the next holiday season as soon as this current holiday season is over. Yes, freeze the whites and whip them up to add when you serve it for something pretty extraordinary.
In case you need nog a tad quicker, this one-day eggnog from Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero, California combines the importance of “aging” the nog with modern considerations of wanting it NOW.
For something with less of an aging and time commitment but lots of flavor from the unusual addition of black pepper and cardamom, try this spiced nog designed to be made just a day or so before serving.
Anyone who knows about duck eggs knows they are bigger, better, and richer than chicken eggs. And they make a nog that is undoubtedly even more luscious than the standard choice.
If all that milk and cream gets your lactose-intolerant self down, this dairy-free nog featuring pecan milk is what you’re after. Or try this flip (a cocktail made creamy by shaking in an egg white) for a nice, extra boozey variation on the classic creamy nog featuring apple brandy and rum—dairy-free but far from alcohol-free.
And for something with that winter holiday feel but no dairy, no egg, and chock full of booze… try this hot buttered rum made with an easy spiced butter and, you guessed it, plenty of rum.