The Best Eggnog Is Old Eggnog

Creamy, dreamy—and aged for weeks.

Published Dec. 2, 2021.

The usual approach to making eggnog is simple: Mix together eggs, sugar, and cream and fortify the dairy with your choice of booze. Then, bottoms up. But if you plan ahead, there’s a simple way to improve on this classic winter holiday cocktail: Simply let a batch of nog age for at least three weeks in the refrigerator before indulging. The rest period drives off the eggy taste while giving the other flavors a chance to meld. At the same time, the alcohol has a chance to kill any potential pathogens from the raw eggs.

The key is to use enough alcohol to properly sterilize the eggs during storage, and then temper the booze-egg base with dairy for serving. Alongside a fresh batch, which tastes comparatively eggy, boozy, and harsh, we found that this aged nog went down more smoothly.

Here’s how to make it:

  • Stir together a dozen beaten eggs, 1 1/2 cups of bourbon, 1/2 cup of cognac, and 1/3 cup of dark rum; add 1 1/2 cups of sugar. 
  • Refrigerate the 18-percent-alcohol mixture in an airtight container. 
  • After three weeks, pour the base through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any egg solids.
  • Mellow out the mixture with 6 cups of whole milk and ½ cup of cream, bringing it down to about 8 percent alcohol.

Or, if you have a favorite eggnog recipe, use 1 1/2 ounces of 80 proof liquor for every egg, and leave out the dairy until serving.

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