How to Make a Better Eggnog

November 19, 2014

If you're like us, you look to the seasons for what to cook -- or what to drink. Get to the market, and we'll show you what to do with your haul.

Today: A sassy, slightly blasphemous version of a classic to make your holiday season better. 

clyde common eggnog

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After we try Clyde Common’s eggnog our first reaction is think about how awesome this would be in bread pudding. And then we begin to consider that it’s something like a deranged protein shake -- what with its 12 eggs and serious slap on the ass from hard alcohol -- but we decide to return to the first comment because right now, that's the point.

The holidays are a full court press of cream and butter and silky, custardy fat and we’d be silly not to just go with it, not to let all of our meals swap places with each other like free spirits at a swingers’ party: dessert into breakfast into protein shake into cocktail. It is winter, damn it, and we will eat like kings. 

how to make eggnog

The eggnog we know is the liquid equivalent of an ugly Christmas sweater before we appropriated it for our own ironic enjoyment: It makes a showing at every holiday party because it’s what our relatives did before us and we’re too polite to break tradition. It’s a little obligatory and largely ignored, and it grows unpleasantly tepid next to the fruitcakes, sad and still wrapped, on the dessert table. Guests pass it over for the trough of fun-loving gin punch, and why wouldn’t they?

This is not that eggnog. This one, from Clyde Common’s Jeffrey Morgenthaler, smartly swaps Amontillado sherry and añejo tequila for the syrupy rums that normally shack up with eggnog’s requisite eggs and truckload of dairy. (The latter he kept, because remember the part about just going with it?) It’s smoky and it’s nuanced, and for both of these reasons it makes consuming a glass full of cream and raw eggs not feel like an exhaustive exercise. You’ll take a second sip, and then a third. 

A good eggnog is a flip, and that’s where many of the cartoned and ladled concoctions of our past go wrong. To do it right, you should be shaking each one with everything you’ve got. The reward is something like a boozy milkshake, all smooth from the egg and frothy from the sheer strength of your forearms. But no one is looking to do this at a holiday party, and if you are, you’re having a party for the wrong reasons. 

Holiday parties are about good cheer and getting a little wobbly and drinking with your friends, which is why we’re thankful that Morgenthaler gives us permission to make ours in a blender. (Did you think blended drinks were cocktail sin? Let him convince you otherwise.)

Start by beating the eggs, then slowly add in a small heap of sugar. Do not think twice about this heap. Then in goes everything else, with a caveat: You will have to blend in batches. One full recipe will in no way fit in a standard blender, and while having such a large quantity of this sweet, spiked eggnog is a blessing from the heavens, it can also be a little scary when blitzed on high speed. You will be mad at Morgenthaler for not telling you this in his book and then you will try the eggnog and you will love him again. I think he knew this would happen.

Press blend. Chill. Save your strength for the morning after. 


Clyde Common's Better Eggnog 

Serves many (makes about one gallon)

12 eggs
2 1/4 cups superfine sugar
12 ounces añejo tequila
15 ounces Amontillado sherry
36 ounces whole milk
24 ounces heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here.

Photos by Mark Weinberg 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • huy dang
    huy dang
  • susan chilton
    susan chilton
  • I_Fortuna
  • Gwenhwyfar
  • Lauren Kelley
    Lauren Kelley
Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


huy D. December 6, 2014
Could I cut half all ingredients and make 1/2 gallon instead?
Kenzi W. December 6, 2014
Of course!
susan C. November 22, 2014
June--I grew up with the separated whites type egg nog. All fluffy and yummy. Kids version sans spirits--mom and dad added bourbon--talk about pedestrian. Hey--it was the 60's.
I_Fortuna November 22, 2014
Your eggnog even looks watery and thin. Try a remake. The best eggnog is cooked using egg yolks only into a pudding texture and then thinned if desired with Amontillado. Have you never made vanilla pudding before and drank it hot? This is the origin of eggnog. Think about it.
kamileon November 26, 2014
I'm with you! Eggnog should be a thick boozy custard. Although I've traditionally thinned it with rum and brandy rather than Amontillado, I may have to try that next time.
Gwenhwyfar November 22, 2014
Thank you, Jeffrey Morgenthaler! This is, quite literally, the BEST eggnog ever. (I had planned to beg you for the recipe next time, but now I don't have to.) This is what I wait for at Clyde every year -- I will make it for my family this year now!
Lauren K. November 21, 2014
The first eggnog I ever had was at Clyde Common (thank you for introducing me to it, Jeffrey Morgenthaler) and it was a real game-changer. I'd always assumed I would hate it -- the name itself was always enough to make me turn up my nose (I was a picky eater as a child, you guys), and it wasn't ever around much during holidays growing up in Hawaii.

Since that first taste of real eggnog at Clyde, I've never looked back. This year may very well be the year I make my own. Finally!
Kenzi W. November 21, 2014
I was the pickiest eater as a kid too! We evolve. (Pssst, Lauren -- there's some in the office fridge right now.)
pippa12 November 21, 2014
Thank you for this -- I've always loved the flavor of eggnog but been wary of bad versions and have yet to find a recipe that freshens it up without totally changing it. Tequila for the win. On the holiday list!
Newsmike November 20, 2014
Kenzi, as managing editor, I would think that your writing should set a tone of professionalism for the site. Is the best approach to an article on holiday cocktails to resort to coarse phrases like: "and serious slap on the ass from hard alcohol". Also lovely is the reference to group sex: "not to let all of our meals swap places with each other like free spirits at a swingers’ party.?" I find it ironic that a site which features stunningly beautiful graphic design and photography, degrades the effort with clunky, pedestrian writing. Not that I am seriously offended by the content, but more by the lack of effort and though that went into it. Perhaps you wrote it after getting a serious slap on the ass from hard alcohol?
Kenzi W. November 20, 2014
Newsmike, you got a small part of my job description right, but there’s an important piece that’s missing in your summation, and that is that I also work to encourage many individual voices across our site rather than a singular, universal one. We’re a site that values personality and nuance, and we’re also a site that values not taking ourselves too seriously — especially at a time of year when writing about food and drink can begin to feel stale and obligatory.

We reach for new ways to talk about the things we love — and the things we cook — and that’s what I was trying to accomplish here. I’m sorry you find my writing pedestrian, but for every opinion like yours, I hope there’s at least one more reader who saw eggnog in a slightly different way than he or she did last season. (And more importantly — headed to the kitchen to make a batch!) That, above all, is our end goal.
Catherine L. November 19, 2014
Yeah this is just like what I use to bulk up before hitting the gym!
Kenzi W. November 20, 2014
Good thing, because see below.
Kristen M. November 19, 2014
I think you just brought eggnog back. (Thank you.) Also, I tasted this very nog at the shoot and can attest that the unconventional boozes swap in brilliantly.
Sarah J. November 19, 2014
Now this is my kind of protein shake. And look at the froth!!!
Kenzi W. November 20, 2014
You, me, Catherine: gym + eggnog. Saturday.
Sarah J. November 20, 2014
If by gym you mean farmers market...or bar...or anywhere but a gym.
ChefJune November 19, 2014
and I like yours, Kenzi! ;)
ChefJune November 19, 2014
"Real" eggnog is one of the great delights of the holiday. Both my mom and my Girl Scout leader used to make it from scratch for their holiday parties and serve it in a giant punch bowl. The main difference between theirs and yours is that the eggs are separated. The basic bevvie is made with the yolks only, then the whites are whipped to medium peak with about half the sugar and folded into the nog just before serving. It is! BTW, I don't like rum in eggnog, either. That Amontillado sounds great, but I usually use Cognac. Yes, the good stuff.
Kenzi W. November 19, 2014
I like your style, ChefJune.
I_Fortuna November 22, 2014
Amontillado is much smoother than cognac. A hundred times more delicious and can be just as expensive and rare as cognac. A cask of Amontillado, please, Mr. Poe.