Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Christmas

6 Eggnog Twists to Try Right Now

’Tis the season for creamy, rich Eggnog.

Uncle Angelo's Eggnog
Uncle Angelo's Eggnog Image: / Tim Nusog

When the cold weather rolls in and the holidays come around, seasonal fare and tipples make their anticipated timely appearances. The beautiful thing about Eggnog, the holiday-time standard, is that a number of cultures have their own versions that have typically been passed down for generations and represent something greater than just the liquid in the glass.

Eggnog has been around for centuries. It originated in England and made its way to America in the 1700s with the arrival of European settlers. It has a long and storied history and has taken many shapes and forms throughout time, as various spirits progressively gained and waned in popularity. Many versions exist, each representative of the cocktail’s evolution. 

The name was formed from two words: grog, another word for rum (a popular spirit in Britain at the time), and noggins, a word for the small wooden mugs that the drink traditionally was served in. Today, many Eggnog recipes are based around whiskey, but this was an evolution that happened only once rye, and later bourbon, became the preferred spirits in American and rum’s popularity fell. 

The key components that define an Eggnog are eggs, cream, sugar, spice and a spirit. Some drinkers aren’t keen on eggs in drinks. If you’re among them, you needn’t fret: The riffs below can be crafted without eggs, but their flavor and texture will be different than intended. 

  • Spiced Eggnog

    Spiced Eggnog
    Jeffrey Morgenthaler

    Bar legend Jeffrey Morgenthaler doesn’t mess around when it comes to his Eggnog. His Spiced Eggnog recipe pays tribute to the drink’s roots with a spiced rum as the secondary spirit and with a primary base of brandy, commonly used in many contemporary versions of the drink because of how well it pairs with spice and sweetness. Heavy cream and whole milk, sugar, two eggs and some nutmeg tie it all together form a crowd-pleasing version of the classic. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Añogo

    Jonathan Fong

    Never thought tequila would make an appearance in Eggnog? Think again. San Francisco cocktail pioneer H. Joseph Ehrmann’s take on Eggnog blends añejo tequila with amontillado sherry and lets the mixture age for three months before using it in his Añogo. "You'll usually get nice citrus notes, which are highlighted by the toasted orange oils sprayed on the surface,” he says. “And the sherry notes add a buttery and nutty quality.” If you didn’t begin preparing the drink in September, you can forego the aging, but it’s a nice touch for additional complexity in the cocktail. If you prefer a bit more punch in your Eggnog, consider bolstering the alcohol content with a touch more tequila or sherry. ’Tis the season, after all.

    Get the recipe.

  • Trick Nog

    Trick Nog

    Morgan Schick

    This take on the classic is a great example of how to build complementary flavors into the traditional mix of ingredients. In addition to the typical ingredients such as cream and egg, the Trick Nog adds brown sugar syrup for depth and sweetness, orange juice for a delicate brightness and Heering cherry liqueur, producing a mixture with flavors reminiscent of a fruity holiday cake. It does involve a few more ingredients than the classic version, but it’s bound to wow guests.

    Get the recipe.

  • Coquito

    Coquito / Tim Nusog

    Many Caribbean islands have their own Eggnog-adjacent beverages (for example, Haiti’s Kremas or Cuba’s Crema de Vie), but Coquito is arguably the most popular of the bunch. It’s the only eggless riff on this list, but it replaces egg’s richness with Coco Lopez cream of coconut. The popular Latin-cuisine ingredients of evaporated and condensed milks replace the typical heavy cream and whole milk and drive up the sweetness. The real key to success is a quality rum. Use any rum you’d like—just don’t skimp on it. If you really want to up your Coquito game, try developing your own rum blend for nuanced flavor. 

    Get the recipe.

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  • The Spice Is Right

    The Spice Is Right cocktail
    Mackenzie Dawes

    This riff cleverly uses Eggnog as an ingredient in the cocktail, rather than as the ultimate outcome. Rye whiskey, allspice dram, chile liqueur and cinnamon syrup are combined to make a complex, wintery spice bomb of a drink with a pineapple rum base that adds a welcome sweetness. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Uncle Angelo’s Eggnog

    Uncle Angelo's Eggnog / Tim Nusog

    King Cocktail himself, Dale DeGroff, came up with this Eggnog that features a split base of bourbon and sweeter fruit-forward brandy. The ingredients are typical—eggs, sugar, milk and cream—but the procedure isn’t: The egg whites and yolks are separated and mixed with the other ingredients, then eventually combined, yielding a fluffy yet rich version of the drink. 

    Get the recipe.