How to make eggnog: Do's and don’ts

  • By Natalie Hardwick - Reviews editor -

This traditional, creamy Christmas cocktail packs a punch. From perfect eggnog recipes to cheat's and non-alcoholic versions, we've covered all things 'nog...

How to make eggnog: Do's and don’ts

Eggnog: A traditional, yolk-based drink certain to polarise a Christmas crowd. Would you happily guzzle down a cup or does the idea of it leave you colder than a reindeer’s hoof? 

Well, in America and Canada, it’s not Christmas without a cup of boozy eggnog – there, you can even buy it ready-made in cartons. And it seems the love of ‘nog is extending its brandy-soaked tentacles across the world – in November 2014, Google searches for ‘eggnog’ shot up by 450% in the UK alone. Could there be a creamy contender about to knock mighty mulled wine off British Christmas menus?

To the uninitiated, eggnog is essentially drinkable custard. Its base of egg yolks and sugar is open to interpretation; while traditionally brandy or rum is used as the alcohol component, a dash of whisky shouldn’t be sniffed at as an alternative, and the favoured nutmeg seasoning can be replaced with other festive spices. Still not convinced? We spoke to our food editor Cassie Best and home economist Miriam Nice about making perfect homemade eggnog…  

The foundation

CustardOne of the easiest ways to make your own eggnog is to make a batch of simple homepage custard to use as its base. Try this recipe but with 1 tbsp of cornflour instead of 3. Chill the custard and just before serving add your choice of rum, brandy, whisky or bourbon and top each glass with a grating of fresh nutmeg.

Or, try a cheat’s way…

If you’re not confident making custard from scratch, try using a can of condensed milk as a sweet thickener. This recipe submitted by reader Annemie Buyck is a Flemmish spin on the traditional American model and the condensed milk adds a delicious richness.

Go-alcohol free

Sweet? Tick. Creamy? Tick. Kitsch, moreish and festive? Tick. The foundation of eggnog has 'kids' written all over it – and it tastes just as good without the booze. Just replace it with a splash more milk to thin the drink down to the right level of viscosity.

Getting saucy

mince piesServing custard this Christmas? How very passé. Get down with the Google trends and try a splash of eggnog with mince pies, Christmas pudding or on ice cream.

Shake it up

Serve up a Don Pedro-style 'hard' eggnog milkshake with whiskey, ice cream and eggnog blended together and served in tall glasses with a straw.

Eggnog health and safety

If you’re using raw egg yolks, ensure you buy the freshest you can find and be sure to alert guests if you’re serving it at a party. If the recipe you’re using requires cooking, make sure you heat the eggs very slowly over a low temperature otherwise they could curdle, leaving you with party-pooping sugared scrambled eggs.

Still not convinced?

SnowballIf you’re not quite ready to embrace homemade eggnog with open arms, a glitzy retro snowball is a safe alternative. This version contains Advocaat, a Dutch liqueur made from egg yolks - buying a bottle off the peg bypasses the requirement of having to deal with them yourself. Top the blend off with Babysham for the ultimate festive finish. 

What’s your take on eggnog? Are you willing to give it a go or do you deem it a categorical festive failure?

Comments, questions and tips

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Annemie_b's picture
13th Dec, 2014
Thank you very much for sharing my recipe. Annemie
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