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The world's trusted guide to sustainable and ethical fashion

My Great Grandmother’s Extremely Alcoholic Eggnog Recipe

Don’t even think about getting store-bought eggnog this season, because now you have a recipe for eggnog that is probably a century old.

The women in my family have passed this recipe down for generations. It supposedly originated with my great-grandmother, who would serve it to her guests in Mississippi. Since then, it’s been getting Christmas party guests inebriated since the early 20th century. When my cousin’s wife served it at their Christmas party, a lady fell off the front porch. That, my friends, is a successful party.

Best of all, this vehicle for alcohol tastes sort of like a cream-filled donut. It might put you off when you realize you’re drinking eggs, but consider that this recipe is only a cup of flour away from a pastry. Even if you or your guests don’t consider themselves “eggnog people,” give them a sip and they will be converts.

It is the perfect thing to put in a punchbowl at a festive gathering. I myself make up a big batch, portion it out into mason jars, tie up a nutmeg nut in a cloth and twine to decorate it, and give it as gifts to friends and neighbors. 


Just a few things to note about this recipe:

1. I recommend you get free-range, organic eggs, from the farmer’s market if possible. We’ve never had an issue in all family’s years of making this recipe, because the alcohol zaps any bacteria that could be in the raw eggs, and salmonella is actually quite rare in any case.  But from a taste and environmental standpoint, I personally feel much better knowing my eggs came from a nearby farm.

2. The original recipe calls for four cups of bourbon, which is a liter of 80-proof alcohol. My aunt cuts that in half. I use three cups, which is the amount in a bottle of Bulleit. It’s up to you and your own moral compass, but you need to use enough to kill bacteria. If you want non-alcoholic eggnog, buy it from the store.

Preparation time: 15 minutes active, four hours total, with option to let develop for three days or more. Makes two pitchers. 

12 eggs, separated. (Store egg whites in fridge.)

1 lb confectioners or powdered sugar

2 to 4 cups bourbon (see above)

1 quart whipping cream and 1 quart half and half (or any other heavy cream you might find)

Freshly grated nutmeg (or, if you’re like most people, a pinch from a jar of grated nutmeg)

  1. Preset radio or Spotify to an all-Christmas station.
  2. Beat the yolks until they are light in color.
  3. Beat in gradually 1 pound of confectioners sugar.
  4. Add very slowly, beating constantly, 1 to 2 cups of bourbon.
  5. Let mixture stand covered for 1 hour to “dispel the eggy taste.”
  6. Then add 1 to 2 more cups of bourbon.
  7. Add 1 quart of whipping cream and 1 quart of half and half. (If you can’t find either of these, any heavy cream will do.)
  8. Refrigerate covered for three hours.
  9. Beat until stiff (but not dry) 12 egg whites.
  10. Fold them lightly into the other ingredients.
  11. Store in the fridge for three days to let it marinate. It’s good to drink immediately, but it will only improve with time!
  12. Serve with a pinch of nutmeg (or grate a nutmeg nut) in a clear rock glass.
  13. Due to the bourbon, the eggnog will keep for three weeks or more in the fridge. Make it at the beginning of the season for a welcome treat for guests, or for a gift/bribe to your neighbors.
Traditional eggnog recipe
This traditional eggnog recipe has been getting Christmas revelers schnockered for a century.

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