Spice Up Your Traditional Eggnog

Make Banana Bread Eggnog or Tiramisù Eggnog, or whip up a classic Virginia Eggnog from 1901.

Glasses of Eggnog

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The season of coziness is upon us: wool socks, holiday movies, gingerbread cookies, gingerbread candles, gingerbread man-themed onesie pajamas. And what could be cozier than the preeminent American holiday drink, eggnog?

Unlike hot cocoa, eggnog requires attentive mixology. It’s a bit of a mystery, a combination of rich ingredients carefully blended into a stiff, transcendent drink. It’s like melted ice cream, but on purpose.

Recipes for eggnog have varied wildly across time and place, along with when and why we drink it. Around the turn of the last century, homemakers wrote about serving (virgin) eggnog to soothe their ill children. They made orange juice eggnog and egg lemonade for hot days. Eggnog was a “traditional Easter refreshment,” and it made its way into sponge cakes and pies. Chiefly, southerners and Virginians enjoyed eggnog every New Year’s Eve during the antebellum days, later popularizing their version of Virginia Eggnog in clubs in New York. Even George Washington himself purportedly mixed it up each year.

A humor column in the Washington Star in 1907 brashly claimed, “Nobody ever got sick since the beginning of the world from drinking good milk mixed with good liquor and good eggs.” While that is almost certainly untrue, the key to good eggnog is farm-fresh eggs with orange-colored yolks and fatty cream. Use pasteurized eggs to reduce the risk of Salmonella.

These eggnogs are based on Virginia Eggnog recipes printed in the Times of Richmond in 1901, particularly that which was served at Murphy’s Hotel at the time. They yield a strong alcoholic drink, so you can tame the amount of spirits for a milder one.

Whether you’re looking to elevate this creamy, boozy libation or stick with the old standby, check out the recipes below for maximum coziness during your holidays at home.

Classic Virginia Eggnog

  • 1 dozen eggs, separated
  • 1 ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cups cognac
  • 1 cup bourbon (or dark rum)
  • 1 nutmeg, finely grated (2 tsps ground nutmeg)

Instructions:

Using a hand mixer, mix the egg yolks in a large bowl for a few minutes. Slowly add most of the confectioner’s sugar, reserving a few tablespoons. Mix thoroughly.

Combine the cognac and bourbon, and slowly pour it into the yolks while mixing. This will delicately “cook” the eggs.

Add the milk and heavy cream in the same way.

Rinse off the mixer whisks. Add the remaining confectioner’s sugar to the egg whites and beat them to firm peaks. Fold most or all of the egg whites into the mixture, along with the nutmeg.

Refrigerate. Serve with a ladle, or transfer to a pitcher.

Banana Bread Nog

  • 1 dozen eggs, separated
  • 1 ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 cups dark rum
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 nutmeg, finely grated (2 tsps ground nutmeg)

Instructions:

Using a hand mixer, mix the egg yolks in a large bowl for a few minutes. Slowly add most of the confectioner’s sugar, reserving a few tablespoons. Mix thoroughly.

Slowly pour the rum into the yolks while mixing.

In a blender, mix the milk, bananas, cinnamon, and vanilla.

Slowly add the banana-milk mixture to the yolks while mixing.

Rinse off the mixer whisks. Add the remaining confectioner’s sugar to the egg whites and beat them to firm peaks. Fold most or all of the egg whites into the mixture, along with the nutmeg.

Refrigerate. Serve with a ladle, or transfer to a pitcher.

Tiramisù Nog

  • 1 dozen eggs, separated
  • 1 ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup orange liqueur, like Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • 3 cups dark rum
  • 3 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 nutmeg, finely grated (2 tsps ground nutmeg)
  • Coffee ice cubes (strong)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)

Instructions:

Using a hand mixer, mix the egg yolks in a large bowl for a few minutes. Slowly add most of the confectioner’s sugar, reserving a few tablespoons. Mix thoroughly.

Combine the liqueur and rum, and slowly pour it into the yolks while mixing.

In a blender, mix the milk and mascarpone. Slowly add this to the yolk mixture while mixing, followed by the cream.

Rinse off the mixer whisks. Add the remaining confectioner’s sugar to the egg whites and beat them to firm peaks. Fold most or all of the egg whites into the mixture, along with the nutmeg.

Refrigerate. Serve with coffee ice cubes and cocoa powder.

Orange Chili Chocolate Nog

  • 1 dozen eggs, separated
  • 1 ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cups cognac
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate baking bars
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions:

Heat the milk on low with the dark chocolate. Add the zest of the orange, cayenne powder, and cinnamon stick. Do not allow to boil.

Meanwhile, using a hand mixer, mix the egg yolks in a large bowl for a few minutes. Slowly add most of the confectioner’s sugar, reserving a few tablespoons. Mix thoroughly.

Combine the cognac, bourbon, and the juice of one slice of orange, and slowly pour it into the yolks while mixing.

After the chocolate and spices have incorporated into the milk, remove the pot from heat and remove the cinnamon stick. Add the cream, then slowly add it all to the yolk mixture while mixing.

Rinse off the mixer whisks. Add the remaining confectioner’s sugar to the egg whites and beat them to firm peaks. Fold most or all of the egg whites into the mixture.

Refrigerate. Serve with a ladle, or transfer to a pitcher.

Vegan Nog

  • 4 cups dairy-free milk (almond or cashew is best)
  • 1 13.5-oz. can coconut milk
  • 2 cups cognac
  • 1 cup bourbon (or dark rum)
  • ⅓ cup molasses (or substitute maple syrup)
  • ½ nutmeg, finely grated (or 1 tsp ground nutmeg)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix thoroughly. Serve cold.

Orange Eggnog (from Child Life magazine, May 1, 1935)

  • 1 egg (separated)
  • Juice 1 orange
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cream

Instructions:

Beat egg yolk until light, add one half of the sugar, then the fruit juice and cream. Beat egg white, add remaining sugar to it and fold into first mixture.

Featured image: Oksana Mizina on Shutterstock

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Comments

  1. Well Chef Nicholas, I do believe you’ve come up with more ways to do out eggnog than I’ve ever seen before. Not just for Christmas. Any time of year you can find them here for the perfect occasion. Since I quit even modest drinking quite a few years ago, eggnography other than in the milk-style container was kind of off limits.

    Now we have a banana bread option, all thanks to you! I love this kind of bread, as a muffin or sliced. I just have to figure a way around the rum. A little might be okay with some Kahlua. What do you think? Maybe some Coca-Cola syrup from Smart & Final as a swap out?

    I do have mom’s 1954 mixmaster junior that works just as well today as when those first Thunderbirds started coming off the assembly line late that year. It’s white with a black handle, and if you turn the white (motor part) upward, it looks like one of the bombs dropped out of some vintage World War II aircraft a decade earlier.

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