I did not have much FOMO growing up without celebrating Christmas. After all, I could still appreciate the decorations without my family putting them up. There were always Hanukkah presents, so I wasn’t missing out on that. And, heck, we had latkes. Hard to beat fried potato pancakes.

For some reason, eggnog was one of the only Christmas traditions that really intrigued me. So we would occasionally snag a store-bought (booze-free) quart, which almost inevitably was a letdown. I figured I wasn’t missing much.

Oh, how wrong I was. When I was older and finally tried some honest-to-goodness, homemade, alcohol-included nog, I got a little wistful about time lost. No longer! Of course, eggnog isn’t just tied to Christmas — anyone can partake in the seasonal beverage. And this Deluxe Eggnog is pretty much the ultimate recipe.

As the name promises, it is, indeed, luxurious. Rich with egg yolks and heavy cream and fortified with three types of spirits, it reminded more than one taster of melted ice cream. Nothing wrong with that. We suggest small portions since it is so decadent and strong.

The recipe is a longtime family tradition for the “Joy of Cooking” authors, the classic cookbook that just released a new edition. They recommend letting the egg yolks mingle with the liquor for the full time specified in the recipe; otherwise, “your nog may taste more like a naughty omelet than holiday cheer.” To see the authors in action making this recipe, as well as a vegan version, head over to our story on Instagram, @eatvoraciously. (For other vegan options, you can try spiking the horchata recipe I ran this year or look at this version from our Spirits columnist, M. Carrie Allan.)

If you plan to serve the eggnog for the holiday season, this is the time to get it started. While you can enjoy this version in just a few hours, the authors say the flavor only improves with time. Plus, why burden yourself with one more task once things get busier? Make it now and you won’t miss out this year, or ever again.

Recipe notes: This recipe calls for raw egg yolks; if you are concerned about a risk of salmonella, use pasteurized eggs, such as Davidson’s brand. For food safety, the authors caution against reducing the amount of alcohol. If you would like to use less booze, make the eggnog with pasteurized eggs, or follow the variation below for a cooked eggnog.

The egg yolk mixture needs to be refrigerated for 1 hour, and the finished eggnog must be chilled for at least 3 hours. According to the authors, the eggnog will keep in the refrigerator “indefinitely.” They’ve enjoyed some batches for up to a year.

The recipe doubles easily.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.


  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup light rum
  • 1 quart heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 1 cup cognac or Asbach brandy
  • 1/2 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Step 1

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with a whisk until light in color. Gradually whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and then the rum. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator and let it rest there, uncovered, for 1 hour to dispel the eggy taste.

Step 2

Whisking constantly, add the heavy cream or half-and-half, cognac and orange liqueur. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 3 hours. Serve, garnishing each cup with freshly grated nutmeg.

VARIATION: To make cooked eggnog, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl. In a large saucepan, heat 2 cups of the heavy cream over medium-low until steaming. While whisking, slowly add about half of the hot cream to the egg yolks. Then slowly pour the mixture back into the saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens a little and reaches a temperature of 175 degrees. Do not overheat or the mixture will curdle. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream. Strain, cool completely and chill until cold. Stir in the rum, cognac and orange liqueur. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Adapted from “Joy of Cooking” by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker, John Becker and Megan Scott (Scribner, 2019).

Tested by Becky Krystal; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here. The nutritional analysis is based on 1/2-cup servings, using heavy cream. (See the printer-friendly version for an analysis with half-and-half.)

Did you make this recipe? Take a photo and tag us on Instagram with #eatvoraciously.

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Calories: 390; Saturated Fat: 16 g; Cholesterol: 165 mg; Sodium: 0 mg; Carbohydrates: 17 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 15 g; Protein: 1 g.