If You're Not Aging Egg Nog, You're Doing It Wrong

This seriously tasty holiday recipe only gets better with age.

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Editor's Note

This article was originally published on December 4, 2014. It has been updated.
December 9, 2015

I know what you're thinking: letting raw eggs and dairy age for an extended period of time is asking for trouble. But guess what? It turns out that introducing an exorbitant amount of booze into the equation does magical things. The finished product is over 20% alcohol, which is high enough to eradicate any bacteria that might otherwise put you at risk.

Aging gives the ingredients time to mingle, completely transforming the flavor.

Although the egg nog is delicious and ready-to-drink right away, the aging process gives the components time to mingle, completely transforming the flavor. In fact, the longer you age it, the more it mellows out.

Making aged, homemade egg nog is remarkably quick and easy. This recipe (originally published at yields enough of the yuletide beverage to share with friends and family all season long.

Fair warning, though: This stuff is incredibly potent. Drink responsibly.

The Tools

• 1 large mixing bowl
• 1 whisk
• 1 funnel (optional, but recommended)
• Storage devices (bottles, mason jars, etc.)

The Ingredients

• 12 large eggs
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 liter bourbon
• 4 cups whole milk
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 3/4 cup Cognac or brandy
• 1/2 cup dark rum
• Pinch kosher salt

The Recipe

  1. Separate the yolk from each egg. The whites can be tossed out or stored in your refrigerator or freezer for future use. (We like whipping them up with some heavy cream for a delicious nog-topper!)

  2. Combine the yolks and the sugar in a large bowl and whisk until the mixture is creamy.

  3. Add all remaining ingredients–cream, liquor, and the rest–to the bowl. Once everything has been thoroughly combined, feel free to spice up the egg nog with whatever you see fit. I've personally had good luck with a few drops of vanilla extract and dashes of nutmeg and cinnamon.

  4. Carefully pour the egg nog into clean mason jars, swing-top bottles, or even the leftover liquor bottles and store them in the refrigerator.

Credit: Ian Eckert

You can bottle your nog in leftover liquor bottles, swing-tops, or mason jars. You can even print your own labels! It makes a great gift.

If stored properly–in tightly sealed containers at or below 40°F–the nog can be safely (and deliciously) aged for up to a year.

Depending on where you procure your containers, you might want to sanitize them before using them to store nog, though freshly used liquor bottles should be good to go. We also recommend giving the containers a good shake every few days to keep the ingredients well-mixed.

If you're trying to keep costs down, don't skimp on the bourbon—it's basically the main ingredient.

Another bit of advice (from experience): If you're trying to keep costs down, don't skimp on the bourbon—it's more or less the main ingredient. Mid-to-top-shelf bourbon (like Maker's Mark or Knob Creek) is your best bet.

Interested in something a little spicier this holiday season? Try this slightly modified south-of-the-border nog, which replaces bourbon and cognac with añejo tequila and sherry.

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And seriously, it's worth reiterating just how strong this stuff is. Take it slow, and savor.

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