Nothing says the holiday season like a glass of eggnog! Sadly, eggnog as a beverage is not very common in the UK and you cannot find it pre-made in grocery stores. But, never fear, there's still a way to get an epic eggnog fix - make it yourself! My easy homemade eggnog has limitless potential and gives you full freedom to spice it up or down to your heart's content.
Ingredients for Homemade Eggnog
My spiced eggnog can be broken down into a few key ingredient groups:
- Egg yolks - key to eggnog, the yolks will give you the thick and rich flavour associated with classic eggnog.
- Sugar - caster sugar or superfine granulated sugar.
- Milk and Cream - use both full fat whole milk and heavy double cream to ensure a super decadent and creamy finished product.
- Spices - this is where you can experiment and flavour to your tastes. My recipe calls for vanilla, cloves, aniseed, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Process for Making Homemade Spiced Eggnog
Start by whisking your egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric hand beater (or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment). Whisk these on high until they are light and thickened. This process is a bit like making a meringue with egg whites, except you are not aiming to reach stages like soft or stiff peaks.
Once the egg yolks are thick and light, start adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Continue beating for another minute or two, aiming for a frothy thick mixture. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, add the milk, cream and spices. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the vanilla pod and add both the seeds and pod to the milk.
Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure it does not catch and burn on the bottom. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes, but you're not aiming to bring it to a boil.
Once simmering, temper your egg yolks.
Quick Tips for Tempering Eggs
Tempering is essentially a process of slowly bringing the eggs up to temperature so that they don't cook too quickly. Adding the hot liquid to the egg yolks too fast will cause the eggs to scramble and seize up, leading to lumps in the eggnog.
To successfully temper eggs:
- Slowly add about half of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, whilst whisking continuously.
- After you've warmed the egg yolks with about half of the hot milk, pour this all back into the saucepan, whisking continuously.
- Now you can return the mixture to heat without the eggs scrambling.
The key takeaways are slow pouring and constant whisking!
Return the eggnog to the stovetop and cook until thickened (about 10 to 15 minutes).
You're looking for this to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, strain to remove the spices and add in the cream.
Once strained, allow to cool and then chill.
Serving Homemade Eggnog - Cocktail Tips
Traditionally, a festive eggnog is notoriously spiked. Now, strictly speaking, you don't need to add any liquor to this, and I am a firm supporter of bespoke spiked eggnog. There's no need to add the booze to the whole batch of eggnog and its a great make-your-own cocktail.
Eggnog pairs nicely with whisky, bourbon, dark rum or amaretto.
To serve, pour a portion of eggnog into a glass and add in a shot (or two) of your favourite liquor or combination.
No matter whether you're having spiked eggnog or plain, always top with fresh grated nutmeg!
FAQs for Easy Eggnog Recipe
Eggnog should normally be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If yours isn't thickening, chances are you just need to keep cooking it for a bit longer.
If you're feeling like it just isn't happening and you want to give up (we've all been there!) don't worry, your drink will still have loads of flavour even if it is a bit on the thinner side. To be sure that the egg yolks are cooked adequately,
Yes, you can freeze eggnog successfully for several months. If freezing homemade, allow this to cool completely before pouring into a freezer safe container. Be sure you leave a bit of space in the container as eggnog will expand while freezing (much like milk).
When defrosting, stir thoroughly in case the eggnog has separated.
If you're an eggnog lover, try out these recipes:
- Baked Eggnog Donuts
- Eggnog Pound Cake - replace the buttermilk in my classic pound cake recipe with a cup of egg nog, leave out the lemon extract and add a teaspoon of ground nutmeg.
- Easy Eggnog Buttercream - use my vanilla American Buttercream recipe, but leave out the milk and add in 2-3 tablespoons of eggnog at the end. Add extra eggnog or powdered sugar to reach your preferred consistency.
Easy Spiced Eggnog Recipe
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup caster sugar or superfine granulated sugar
- 2 cups whole (full fat) milk
- 1 cup heavy cream or double cream
- 1 vanilla pod
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 whole nutmeg + a second to grate fresh over the drink to serve
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Optional: whisky, bourbon, dark rum and/or amaretto to taste to serve
- In a mixing bowl, use a handheld electric whisk to beat the egg yolks until lighter and a little frothy. Slowly add in the caster sugar while continuing to beat until lighter and thickened. Set aside.
- Pour the milk into a large saucepan and add the whole cloves, star anise whole nutmeg and cinnamon. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add these along with the whole pod.
- Stir the milk mixture and cook over a medium heat until simmering. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, but do not boil.
- Temper the egg yolks with the hot milk mixture by slowly adding about half of the hot spiced milk to the egg yolks whilst continuously whisking with a handheld whisk. Then add the egg mixture into the saucepan, whisking continuously, and return to the heat.
- Continue cooking over a medium heat until thickened and able to coat the back of a spoon (about 15 minutes). Avoid boiling and continue to stir to avoid the milk scalding on the bottom.
- Once thickened, remove from the heat and add the cream. Stir through.
- Strain the mixture to remove the spices and any lumps. Allow to cool and then chill for a couple of hours.
- Serve with a shot or two of liquor to your taste and top with fresh grated nutmeg.