As a child, there were certain flavors that I classified in my mind as “magical.” They were magical primarily because I didn’t taste them very often, and when I did, it was usually at a special time. Root beer was a magic flavor. As little children, my siblings and I only enjoyed pop at family parties and special occasions, and we were constantly searching for fizzy and root beer-flavored items, like bottle cap candy, fizzy lollipops, and root beer popsicles.
Eggnog is a magic flavor. It was such a special and rare treat, for a long time I didn’t even know its name. But I knew the taste, and tried in vain to describe it (and beg for it) many a time!
Then I started college, got married, and did a lot more cooking. Lo and behold, eggnog can be made at home. And it’s delicious!.
Many eggnog recipes out there use raw eggs. Um, yuck. My apologies if you are a raw egg aficionado, but the thought of drinking slimy uncooked eggs turns my stomach. Therefore, I’m offering you a recipe for eggnog in which the eggs are fully cooked! In addition, it’s non-alcoholic.
Now, I’ll be honest here. This recipe is a bit more work and more finicky than most on the blog. It’s really a special occasion treat. Also, I’ve found that everyone has their own idea about how eggnog should taste. I definitely recommend that you start by halving the recipe for a smaller “test” batch to see how you like it before committing all those eggs and fresh dairy for the full recipe. Then you can adjust it to taste, whether you want less sugar, more or less spice, or a lighter or richer drink.
If you have a double-boiler, now is a great time to use it instead of a regular saucepan. I have curdled the eggs before. Fortunately, you can rescue the recipe by whirling the egg-milk mixture in a blender if you curdle it during the cooking stage.
When I drink eggnog from the store, I always “cut” it with some plain milk because it’s just so thick and rich. I’ve adapted this recipe to have a lighter taste and feel so there’s no need to add milk. However, if you like super-rich and creamy eggnog, I’ve included suggestions on how to make it that way too. You can customize it to your own tastes.
The one danger of making this homemade eggnog is that people will be asking you to make it incessantly! I get requests for it year after year.
If you can, use freshly grated nutmeg. It’s just so tasty, and whole nutmeg stays fresh indefinitely. You can use ground cinnamon instead of a cinnamon stick if you choose, but you will have more spices that settle to the bottom of your drink.
Homemade eggnog needs to chill for several hours before drinking, so if you’re craving some homemade ‘nog for New Year’s Eve, run and buy your eggs and milk. Enjoy!
- 6 cups low-fat milk, divided*
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
- 10 egg yolks
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 cups half-and-half*
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¼- ½ tsp rum extract (optional)
Combine 4 cups milk, cloves, and cinnamon stick in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or double-boiler. Warm over medium-low heat until milk is steamy and bubbles form around the edges of the pan (but not boiling).
Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Remove the cinnamon stick from the saucepan and set aside. Slowly and gradually pour the warm milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan along with the cinnamon sticks.
Cook and stir over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens, 10-15 minutes, being careful not to allow the mixture to boil. The consistency will change from foamy and dark yellow to creamy and light yellow as it begins to thicken. If you accidentally curdle the eggs, whip the mixture in a blender (be sure to vent the steam).
Let cool for about an hour. Strain out the cloves and cinnamon sticks. Stir in the additional milk, the half-and-half, vanilla, nutmeg, and rum extract. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Makes about 2 quarts.
*For richer and creamier eggnog, substitute cream for the half-and-half, and/or use whole milk instead of low-fat. You can also use 2 additional egg yolks in the base if desired. For a lighter eggnog, replace the half-and-half with evaporated milk or whole milk.