Sure, December 24th is traditionally Christmas Eve, but did you know it’s also National Egg Nog Day? The cocktail favorite—traditionally a blend of milk, cream, sugar, beaten eggs, spices and sometimes alcohol—sells roughly 131 million pounds a year, all from October through December. The spirit used to make the cocktail often reveals where that version originates, for instance Europe uses white wine while Americans prefer rum or Bourbon. Rather than settle for the store-bought cartons, which can be laden with high-fructose corn syrup and other additives, why not mix up your own batch? Here are Wine Enthusiast’s favorite iterations of the ‘nog.
Straight from the bar consultant Lynnette Marrero’s family archives, this recipe for coquito calls for organic coconut milk rather than traditional heavy cream.
¼ cup crushed cinnamon bark or 10 cinnamon sticks (use an intense cinnamon, such as canela)
1 cup water
½ vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12-ounce can organic coconut milk
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 12-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups rum (1 cup rum like Flor de Caña and 1 cup aged rum like Zacapa 23 make for a tastier drink)
1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg, to garnish
In a medium saucepan, boil the cinnamon sticks or crushed cinnamon bark and vanilla bean in the water. Let boil for 2 minutes, then let sit for 1 hour. Strain the liquid, making sure to reserve the cinnamon in a separate bowl.
In batches blend the canned coconut milk, evaporated and condensed milks, and slowly add the cinnamon-vanilla water. Add the rums to the mixture and mix well. Transfer the mixture into a large plastic container and refrigerate overnight.
Prior to serving, use a blender and blend the eggnog until well mixed. Serve chilled with freshly grated nutmeg. Serves 8–10.
This recipe is an easy-to-whip up classic.
12 egg yolks
5 cloves, whole
4 cups milk
4 cups cream
3 cups light rum
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla essence
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
¾ teaspoon nutmeg, ground
In a saucepan over low heat, blend the milk, cinnamon, cloves and half a teaspoon of the vanilla essence. Keep stirring while mixture heats, and remove from heat just before boiling point.
In a bowl, mix together the sugar with all those egg yolks. Make sure you whisk them well so that they're light and fluffy. Gently and a little at a time, pour in the milk mixture while continuing to whisk. Transfer mixture back into your saucepan over a medium heat while continuing to stir.
Keep stirring until your eggnog mixture starts to resemble custard. Do not let the mixture reach boiling point. Pour and strain the mixture into a jug, making sure to remove the cloves.
Stand jug in the fridge for an hour or two. Gently stir in the cream, light rum, remaining vanilla and ground nutmeg.
Serve in cups with a little extra ground nutmeg, cinnamon or baking cocoa sprinkled lightly on top. Put in fridge overnight. Serves 8.
This Mexican hot chocolate-eggnog hybrid comes from Brent Lamberti, bartender at the now-shuttered RDV Lounge in New York. The chocolate liqueur and rum mingle with the cinnamon, brown sugar and milk, while habanero adds a surprising kick.
2 ounces Flor de Caña 7-year-old
½ ounce Godiva Milk Chocolate Liqueur
Thin slice of habanero Chile
Dash of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
2 ounces milk
Grated pistachios for garnish
Whipped cream (optional)
Pour the rum, chocolate liqueur and milk into a small pot, and add the habañero slice, cinnamon and sugar. Simmer on low to medium heat until hot. Pour into an Irish coffee mug, and add the optional topping of whipped cream. Garnish with grated pistachios.
Owner of Studio City’s shuttered minibar, Ravel Centeno-Rodriguez offers this boozy version, which uses two kinds of rum with a shot of Spanish Licor 43, ensuring Christmas carols are sung that much louder.
4 ounces eggnog
2 ounces Captain Morgan's spiced rum
1 ounce Myers's dark rum
1 ounce Licor 43
Ground nutmeg, to taste
Granulated sugar, to taste
Coat the rim of a 12-ounce glass with nutmeg and sugar. Form shaved ice into a medium-sized snowball, and put ice in glass. Combine eggnog, rums and Licor 43 in a shaker. Shake well and pour over snowball. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.