According to the taste test I did a couple of years back for an egg nog-focused podcast (that was, ultimately, never quite completed), we did several home-made nog recipes based on various combinations of dairy and liquor.
The one that won our never-before-revealed taste test was this recipe from the folks at the marketing department of the then-new Navan liqueur:
Natural Vanilla Egg Nog
Yield: 1 – 32oz. pitcher (approx. 6 servings)
- 9 oz. NAVAN natural vanilla liqueur
- 6 Grade A or AA eggs
- 9 oz. Whole Milk
- 6 teaspoons superfine sugar
- Garnish: Ground nutmeg and Easy Leaf Products edible gold leaf
- Optional garnish: Cinnamon-Nutmeg whipped cream topped with gold leaf*
Separate the egg yolk and white into 2 bowls. Beat the white with 1/2 tsp. sugar until peaks form. Beat yolk with remaining 1/2 tsp. sugar until stiff. Gently fold egg white into egg yolk. Add milk and mix gently. Add NAVAN and mix gently. Pour mixture into an ice-filled cocktail glass. Add the garnish.
*Optional Garnish: Cinnamon-Nutmeg whipped cream topped with gold leaf. Directions: Beat 2 oz. whipping cream, with pinch ground nutmeg and pinch ground cinnamon until stiff. Add to top of drink and sprinkle with gold leaf.
Definitely try it with the Cinnamon-Nutmeg topping. I’ll be the first to admit the sprinkle of gold leaf was the most ostentatious thing you might imagine (it doesn’t affect the taste, so feel free to leave it out; it just looks pretty, and the folks at Navan gave us a small shaker of it gratis, so we at least had to try it), but everything else about the drink was damn good — refreshing, not too heavy, and with a well-balanced taste. Not the “half a bottle of Maker’s Mark with a little cream tossed in” flavor of most of the other entries.
The only one that came close, at least in my eyes, is this aged recipe that starts out with a wicked bite, but becomes mellowed and balanced after you let it age for a year or two.
Yes, you read that right. A year. It’s okay. You won’t die. Here’s why.
Game plan: It’s good to give the eggnog a full 3 weeks of aging or up to 1 year, but you can drink it right away; however, the flavor will be less rounded.
For the eggnog:
- 12 large eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 quart (4 cups) whole milk
- 1 liter (about 4 cups) bourbon, such as Maker’s Mark
- 1/2 cup Myers’s dark rum
- 1/2 to 1 cup good Cognac or other brandy
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 whole nutmeg
To serve (optional):
- 10 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
For the eggnog:
Separate egg yolks and whites. (Reserve the whites for another use, such as serving this eggnog, or for our Egg-White Frittata with Shrimp, Tomato, and Spinach.) Combine yolks and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk until well blended and creamy.
Add cream, milk, bourbon, rum, Cognac (use the good stuff), and salt, then stir.
Bottle it right away and refrigerate it until it’s ready. (An old liquor bottle works great, as do 22-ounce bail-top bottles, available in brewing supply stores. My grandfather keeps the eggnog in the garage for 3 weeks, stirring occasionally, then bottles it—but aging in the garage is not recommended because the temperature can fluctuate.)
It’s traditional to wrap the bottle in aluminum foil, shiny side out, together with a fresh nut of nutmeg tucked into the foil for grating later. Keep refrigerated for at least 3 weeks, or up to a year if you can.
To serve (optional):
I serve aged eggnog on the rocks with some freshly grated nutmeg on top. If you want to serve the eggnog in the traditional way, pour it into a punch bowl. In separate bowls, whip 10 egg whites and 1 1/2 cups heavy cream to soft peaks and fold them into the eggnog. Serve in punch cups, garnished with freshly grated nutmeg.
I have a bottle of this that’s been aging in my fridge for two years now. Good stuff!