Good Eats

Four Ways to Spice Up Your Eggnog

By Jenny AdamsDecember 21, 2012

When done right, eggnog should be creamy, lightly sweet, and soul-soothing. A bad batch can quickly become the “fruitcake” of holiday cocktails—no one wants it, and if you drink it, you feel like you swallowed a brick.

We asked some of America’s best bartenders to gift us their favorite recipes for this classic tipple. Stick with these and you can’t go wrong.

Walnut Eggnog
Courtesy of Jason Stevens, Bar Congress in Austin, TX
serves 6 to 8

“Eggnog is ultimate Christmas comfort food,” Stevens says. “I wanted to take the classic recipe for eggnog and showcase some of my favorite fall and winter flavors, without getting too far away from the original. Real maple syrup and walnut, along with a bump of spices, add more flavor to the traditional recipe.”

6 eggs separated
8 oz. real maple syrup
1 qt. whole milk
1 pint heavy cream
5 oz. premium 80-proof bourbon
5 oz. premium dark rum (Coruba Dark suggested)
5 oz. walnut liqueur
1 tbsp. brown sugar
Nutmeg for grating
Cinnamon for grating
Allspice for grating
Roasted pecans for grating (optional)

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until they turn light in color, adding in 4 ounces of maple syrup as you beat. Stir in remaining maple syrup, milk, cream, bourbon, rum, and walnut liqueur. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Just before serving, place the egg whites into a large bowl and beat until soft peaks form. While beating, slowly add the brown sugar and continue beating till hard peaks form. Whisk the whipped whites into the liquor mixture. Gently grate nutmeg, cinnamon, roasted pecans, and allspice on top to taste before serving.

Feliz NaviNog
Courtesy of Pam Wiznitzer at Dead Rabbit in New York City
serves 1

“I think sometimes, in the dead of winter it’s nice to mix in a few flavors from the southern hemisphere to warm things up," says Wiznitzer. "Pisco adds a fun, bright level to the flavor. And almond milk cuts the calories drastically.”

2 oz. Peruvian Pisco
2 ½ oz. almond milk
3 to 4 drops vanilla extract
¾ oz. rich brown sugar syrup (recipe below)
1 tsp. vanilla pudding
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves

Combine ingredients into a shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a brandy glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Brown Sugar Syrup
1 cup of dark brown sugar combined with 2/3 cup hot water. Stir to fully dissolve, allow to cool and store in the fridge.


Classic Eggnog
Courtesy of Jeffrey Morgenthaler at Clyde Common in Portland, OR
serves 16

 “I can’t stand the thick, gelatinous goop they sell at the grocery store,” Morgenthaler says. “Even if you were to cut it with alcohol, it’s still so overly-pasteurized and full of preservatives that it would be anything but enjoyable to slug down at a Christmas party.” As an alternative, he created a simpler version—one you can easily use as a base when experimenting on your own.

2 large eggs

3 oz. (by volume) granulated sugar

½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

2 oz. brandy

2 oz. spiced rum (Sailor Jerry’s suggested)
6 oz. whole milk

4 oz. heavy cream

Beat eggs in blender for one minute on medium speed. Slowly add sugar and blend for one additional minute. With blender still running, add nutmeg, brandy, rum, milk and cream until combined. Chill thoroughly to allow flavors to combine and serve in chilled wine glasses or champagne coupes, grating additional nutmeg on top immediately before serving.

If you love Jeffrey’s classic recipe, try his twist:


Anejo Tequila & Amontillado Sherry Eggnog
serves 16

12 large eggs
18 oz. (by volume) granulated sugar
3 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
12 oz. anejo tequila
15 oz. Amontillado sherry
36 oz. whole milk
24 oz. heavy cream

In a blender or stand mixer (on low speed), beat eggs until smooth. Slowly add nutmeg, and sugar until incorporated and dissolved. Slowly add sherry, tequila, milk, and cream. Refrigerate overnight and serve in small chilled cups. Dust with fresh nutmeg before serving.