Spiked Eggnog With Brandy, Bourbon, or Rum

Eggnog With Brandy, Bourbon, or Rum recipe, eggnog in a clear cup on a white marble counter

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Chill: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Yield: 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
205 Calories
8g Fat
13g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 205
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 4g 19%
Cholesterol 153mg 51%
Sodium 129mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 116mg 9%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 162mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

With the right hit of booze and sweetness, a glass of chilled eggnog is a cherished holiday drink. Our homemade eggnog has a luxurious consistency that pairs perfectly with brandy, bourbon, or dark rum, but you could also leave out the alcohol and serve it to the whole family. Aged spirits with a spicy-sweet flavor get along nicely with eggnog's creamy sweetness. You can try experimenting with other alcohol, but you can't go wrong with the classics. Start by adding half a cup and add more to taste.

Although many eggnog recipes use uncooked eggs, our version cooks them gently to kill any potentially harmful bacteria. The key is to cook the mixture slowly and stir to avoid scrambling the eggs.

Spiked eggnog is usually served with small appetizers rather than with dinner, and it can also double as an adult dessert or as a beverage to serve with sweet treats. Keep this rich and creamy eggnog recipe on hand all through the holidays. It can be made ahead of time to chill overnight; just whip a little cream and fold it in just before serving.

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"Eggnog is a special concoction that takes time and a little bit of love. I applied brandy to this recipe and was delighted at the end product. This eggnog is rich and creamy, with a hint of holiday spice." —Sean Johnson 

Eggnog with Brandy, Bourbon, or Rum Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 4 cups whole milk

  • 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups brandy, bourbon, or dark rum, to taste

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish

  • 1/4 cup cold heavy cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making spiked eggnog

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Into a 4-quart saucepan, add the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Whisk well until combined.

    Whisking eggs, sugar, and salt in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Pour the milk in a slow and steady stream until completely incorporated. Vigorously whisk the mixture.

    Pouring milk into an egg mixture in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Place the saucepan on the stove on the lowest possible heat setting. Stir the mixture continuously until an instant-read thermometer reaches 160 F and the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be patient. This should take about 25 to 30 minutes.​

    Heating and stirring the eggnog in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl to remove any small bits of cooked egg.

    The eggnog after it's been strained through a fine sieve

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Add the brandy, bourbon, or dark rum plus the vanilla extract and nutmeg. Start with the 1/2 cup of liquor, taste, and add more if you'd like. Stir well. Remember that adding more liquor also means the eggnog will be thinner in texture and also stronger in taste.

    Add the alcohol along with vanilla and nutmeg

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Pour the eggnog into a glass pitcher and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Refrigerate the egg custard mixture until well chilled, for at least 4 hours.

    Eggnog mixture in a glass pitcher, wrapped in plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. When ready to serve, pour the cold heavy cream into a bowl and whip until it forms soft peaks.

    Heavy cream in a white bowl, whipped with a whisk

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Fold the whipped cream into the cold custard mixture until combined. Mix carefully so that you don't deflate the cream.

    The whipped cream is folded into cold custard mixture

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Serve in chilled cups or glasses and garnish with an additional sprinkle of nutmeg.

    Eggnog in a class cup with a nutmeg sprinkled on top

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Variations

  • You can also make spiked eggnog using store-bought eggnog. Add 1/4 to 3/4 cup of liquor per quart of eggnog (starting with the lower amount and adding more as needed). We like spiced rum, bourbon, or brandy best.
  • If you would like more potent eggnog and want to add more liquor, you will need to make a minor adjustment to maintain the right consistency: If you increase the liquor amount to 1 cup, it's recommended that you increase the heavy cream amount to 3/4 cup.
  • You can also spike vegan eggnog.

How to Store

The eggnog can be refrigerated (tightly wrapped or with a lid) for up to three days. It's better fresh—make it up to a day ahead before you plan to serve it.

Is Eggnog Served Hot or Cold?

Eggnog is typically served cold; however, it can be served warm on a cold winter night. This eggnog recipe can technically be served as soon as the liquor and vanilla are added. However, the mixture becomes thicker and more flavorful as it chills in the fridge. If you are heating eggnog, use low heat and heat it slowly to avoid scorching the eggs or dairy.

Why Is My Homemade Eggnog Lumpy?

If your eggnog is lumpy, it's likely due to the eggs. Eggnog should be cooked on low heat very slowly and stirred often or you risk scrambling the eggs. Scrambled eggs will lead to a lumpy (rather than creamy) texture in your eggnog. If you only have a few lumps, simply strain the mixture before serving.

How Strong Is a Cup of Spiked Eggnog?

The strength of a cup of this spiked eggnog depends on how much rum, brandy, or bourbon you're using. A 6-ounce serving of this recipe that uses a total of 8 ounces of brandy weighs in around 8.8 percent ABV (17.6 proof). Because rum and whiskey have a similar alcohol content as brandy, the strength will be similar for a 6-ounce serving that used one of those two liquors.