I like eggnog, but I’m not a big fan of most store-bought eggnogs, even “organic” ‘nogs from natural foods stores. I find that many of them have an overly strong nutmeg flavor, and others are so thick that they verge on being pudding. I like eggnog to be light and refreshing, with flavor from all the ingredients in it. Eggnog is made from milk and eggs. It is lightly sweetened and flavored with (usually) vanilla and nutmeg. You can drink it plain or make it boozy and warming by adding in some brandy.
My favorite eggnog is an uncooked eggnog, which can be made with pasteurized eggs – not eggs from a carton, but eggs pasteurized in-shell – or regular eggs. It’s quick, easy and has the flavor I’m looking for. But to avoid any salmonella risk, or to make a big batch in advance for a party, I also make a cooked eggnog. This ‘nog is the same recipe, but I put it on the stovetop and bring the temperature up to 160F, which is just high enough to kill off any bacteria that might be in there. I chill it for several hours before serving.
I like to use low fat milk for eggnog because I like the consistency that the eggnog has when it is finished, a good balance of light and creamy. You can use nonfat or whole milk in this recipe if you prefer. Freshly grated nutmeg will give you the best results in this recipe. If you need to use preground, you may find that you need to add more to get enough nutmeg flavor. Either way, feel free to add or subtract from the amount of nutmeg given to suit your individual tastes.
Easy Homemade Eggnog
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste*
4 cups low fat milk
2 oz. brandy or bourbon, for serving (optional)
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until all of the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Whisk in vanilla, nutmeg and milk.
Pour mixture into a large saucepan and turn heat to medium. Bring eggnog just to a simmer (160F). Hold at that temperature for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Strain into a pitcher or serving dish and chill for at least 4 hours, or until ready to serve.
Pour into glasses, add brandy if desired, and sprinkle with additional nutmeg for serving.
*Note: If not using freshly grated nutmeg, you may want to use more nutmeg.