Making a healthier version of this holiday classic that still tastes unbelievably luscious all comes down to choosing the right ingredients (see Tips).

EatingWell Magazine, December 2020


Recipe Summary

20 mins
4 hrs
4 hrs 20 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until pale yellow and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and place it near the stove. Heat milk and nutmeg in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until steaming, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisking constantly, ladle 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Continue to add the hot milk, 1/4 cup at a time, until all of it has been whisked in.

  • Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon and the temperature reaches 160°F, about 1 minute. Do not let it boil. Working quickly, pour the custard through the sieve into the bowl. Stir in vanilla. Transfer the eggnog base to a heatproof storage container and refrigerate until cold, 4 hours or up to 2 days.

  • Stir bourbon (or rum) into the eggnog base. Lightly whisk cream until foamy and stir into the eggnog. Garnish with more nutmeg, if desired. To prepare just one cocktail: Combine 1/2 cup eggnog base, 3/4 ounce bourbon (or rum) and 1 1/2 teaspoons cream in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Pour into a glass and garnish with nutmeg.


Tips: Choosing low-fat (1%) milk over whole cuts back on calories and reduces the amount of saturated fat by 2 grams for each serving.

Freshly grating whole nutmeg with a zester—instead of using the preground stuff—unleashes the volatile oils found within the seed for a more assertive, complex flavor.

Look for pure vanilla extract, which must be made from vanilla beans. The pretenders (labeled "imitation vanilla," "artificially flavored" or just "vanilla flavoring"), which get their flavor from synthetic vanillin, have a weaker vanilla flavor and can taste harsh and bitter.

To make ahead: Refrigerate the base (Steps 1-3) for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Facts

about 5 oz.
184 calories; fat 6g; cholesterol 107mg; sodium 61mg; carbohydrates 15g; protein 6g; sugars 15g; saturated fat 3g; vitamin a iu 438IU.