Homemade is Better—Eggnog

It is the oddest thing, I could not find eggnog this year, no matter where I looked.  If you found some and have enjoyed it, that’s fantastic.  But in my case necessity birthed some looking around online and through several of my cookbooks to find some decent recipes.  The following is a hybrid of the information I found.  Most recipes are consistent in that they call for 4-6 egg yolks, and 1/3 – 1 cup of sugar, 1 – 3 cups of cream and or a mixture of heavy cream and milk.  Accent flavourings called for a variety of powders or extracts.  It just so happened that I had the actual ingredients, so I chose to use those instead.

The history of eggnog is fascinating, as it turns out.  There is quite a dispute between historians as to the origins: some say it’s a British term, and some think it’s American; regardless, they agree that it’s based on a medieval beverage called Posset.  Posset was made from hot milk curdled with wine or ale and then had spices added.

The drink has been popular around this time of year for a long time, and several influential people in history have made variations, including George Washington whose recipe can be found on Wikipedia.  There was also a drink called a Tom and Jerry, which used rum or brandy and was served warm.  Time magazine points out that several countries around the world have their own variations as well.  In South America, it is popular to use bourbon, and in Puerto Rico, they use coconut milk and call the beverage ‘coquito’.

I also stumbled upon an unexpected but not surprising detail about commercially made eggnog.  And if you like a good Eggnog Latte as I do, maybe start making your own.  According to Ethan Trex of Mental Floss in the USA, it is permissible for eggnog only to contain 1% by weight of egg yolk solids.  I could not verify what the acceptable ingredients are in Canada.  I was able to find a few brands here in Alberta that we sell; they list things like artificial and natural flavours, frozen egg yolks, modified milk ingredients.  Those were after milk, cream, and sugar.

I hope I have made a case for you to try and make your own. It’s so much better!  I heat the milk and cream and use a whole vanilla bean and cinnamon stick in this recipe, but powdered cinnamon and pure vanilla extract are acceptable.  I say pure because of one of the ingredients in artificial vanilla.  Google the ingredients in artificial vanilla extract, I dare you, but I’m going to warn you it’s not good!

I hope you enjoy this holiday treat, and cheers!



6 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean – split
1 cinnamon stick
Sprinkle of nutmeg

  • Heat the cream, milk, vanilla bean, and cinnamon stick in a pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the egg yolks and sugar to a mixing bowl, and whisk.
  • Once the cream mixture was warmed up to about 100F, ladle a small amount of it into the eggs while whisking constantly. Go slowly, so you don’t scramble the eggs.  Add a teaspoon to a tablespoon at most to start until you’ve added about half a cup.
  • Once the mixture has warmed up, add it back into the cream. Again, go slow at first, adding a small stream of liquid to start with and whisking constantly.
  • Once both mixtures are in the pot, heat the liquid to 160F over medium heat. You will still whisk it, but you can slow down and stir more than agitate.
  • Once the eggnog is at 160F, transfer it to a container with a lid and refrigerate until it has cooled completely.
  • Add your favourite mixes to it and enjoy!