Alton Brown’s Egg Nog

One of my favorite episodes of Alton Brown’s unique cooking show Good Eats is season 9 episode 13, in which he explores egg nog and the bourbon that he puts in it. [You can find it on YouTube: Part 1 and Part 2] Now, there are a lot of egg nog recipes out there, and we’ll cover a few of them leading up to the holiday, but for my money, this is one of the best.

Granted, this recipe is a lot of work compared to most everything else we post here on IPTB, but egg nog’s a party drink and this will yield enough boozed-up nog for around 6 generous servings. That’s a whole pitcher of this holiday treat that’ll make you think twice about serving store-bought nog ever again.

For this recipe you’ll need either an electric hand mixer (recommended if you’re going to halve the recipe) or a stand mixer (better for larger volumes). You’ll also want to use shell-pasteurized eggs, which are safe to consume raw.

Alton Brown’s Egg Nog


1/3 cup + 1 Tbs          Sugar

1 pint                          Whole Milk

1 cup                           Heavy Cream

3 oz                             Bourbon Whiskey

1 tsp                            Grated Nutmeg

4                                  Large Shell Pasteurized Eggs

Separate the eggs carefully, discarding any with broken yolks. Store yolks and whites in separate bowls and place the whites in the fridge for now. With your mixer, beat the yolks until they are lighter both in color and in texture. While still beating, slowly add 1/3 cup sugar. Still beating, slowly add both the milk and the cream. Still beating, add your bourbon and nutmeg. Once thoroughly mixed, swap for the whites in the fridge. Before you do anything else, you want to wash the beaters on your mixer thoroughly so that you don’t introduce any yolk into your whites. (Alton gives a great explanation for this here, at about 1:58) Then, beat your egg whites to soft peaks. Still beating, slowly add your remaining 1 Tbs of sugar and continue to beat until you get stiff peaks. Once you’ve got stiff peaks, turn your mixer down low and slowly pour in your yolk mixture. Once mixed, simply chill and serve with an extra little sprinkle of nutmeg on top.

Recipe courtesy of the Food Network.

Quality control is paramount

Now this is the baseline recipe, and from here you can begin experimenting. We’ve tried variations with brandy, Kraken rum (the vanilla notes are especially nice here), and a 2:1 ratio of Kahlua and Trader Vic’s chocolate liqueur. We’ve even heard that British egg nog is often made with sherry. In addition to trying different types of booze, we also tend increase the amount. This is Alton Brown’s recipe, so we kept his measure of 3 oz, but when we make it, we generally double that.

Egg nog is a drink with a long history that’s become an important part of many families’ holiday traditions. As such, there are a lot of recipes out there, and we’re going to post a bunch of them in the next week or so, including one passed down from my father. If you’ve got a special family recipe that you’d like to share, post it in the comments! We’re always on the lookout for the next great nog.

From left to right: Brandy, Kraken rum, and Kahlua/Chocolate liqueur


2 thoughts on “Alton Brown’s Egg Nog

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