BVC Eats: Eggnog

by Brenda W. Clough

CC_Eggnog-Recipe-1_s4x3 This is the classic and quintessential eggnog recipe, pure as the wind at the South Pole and as high-octane as jet fuel. Taste this, and never again will that nasty thin chemical-tasting stuff in cardboard supermarket cartons ever pass your lips. It is not for the faint-hearted — there’s serious alcohol here. And speaking of heart, look for the cholesterol load to set up in your carotid artery like plaster of Paris. Think of it as a modern lembas — there are enough calories in a glassful to keep a Tolkien dwarf on his feet all day long. My father got this recipe from a tycoon in Virginia, who would have the staff make it some months in advance so that it could age in the refrigerator. If you make it today you can let it age for New Year’s.

Classic Eggnog

12 eggs

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1 quart milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 fifth good bourbon

1 fifth dark rum

a cup of brandy — we would not want to be too restrained.


Divide the eggs, and whip the whites until stiff. Beat the whipping cream in another bowl until it is stiff. Then in a third bowl whip the egg yolks with the sugar until they are thick and lemon-colored — if you do it in this order you do not have to wash the beaters. Use a wire whisk and mix everything together in the largest vessel you own. Decant it into jugs or vats or gigantic tupperware containers — anything you can tightly seal — so that you can refrigerate it The cream will rise to the top; shake the storage containers every day or so to help things stay mixed. Aging it will meld the flavors and mitigate that raw-egg taste — I am sure the alcohol cooks it right out — so make it as early as you can. It is decidedly less good straight out of the mixing bowl.

Serve cold, with a dusting of nutmeg, in small cups. For parties, find a punch bowl. Serves at least two dozen people, because it’s so rich. You can halve the recipe fairly easily, but the volume is such that doubling it will call for really large bowls.



About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


BVC Eats: Eggnog — 5 Comments

  1. This is almost exactly the recipe we use, but our recipe says nothing about making it ahead of time. We have had lots of leftovers before, so I know it does keep. You’ve convinced me to go ahead and make the eggnog today so it has time to stew. I will say though, that it’s pretty darn good right after it’s mixed!

    Even with a large family, we rarely have enough people over to go through an entire batch. So my husband, who is the Excel King of the World, put the recipe into a spreadsheet. We just plug in the number of servings we want and we’re off to the races. I can even whip up a batch for just the two of us for those years we’re all alone. Mind you, that’s at least four servings. Why skimp on something you have just once a year?

  2. Jen made some during my visit, and we aged it several hours in the fridge, shaking regularly. It was lovely and mellow (Irish Whiskey, add more if needed…)

    • I believe it’s 750 ml. It’s a fifth of a gallon, rather than a quarter, which is usually called a quart and is the standard US measure for all other liquids except alchololic beverages.

      • Yes, that is right. You could adjust the amounts, of course. If you look at FARMER BOY by Laura Ingalls Wilder you can read of the eggnog that Mrs. Wilder makes for the farm hands during harvest time. I was very impressed (no wonder they had no problems hiring!) until I realized that her recipe did not involve a drop of bourbon, and no rum or brandy at all. It was purely for caloric value, not for jollification.