Eggnog Cocktail

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

Eggnog Cocktail
Active Time:
20 mins
Chill Time:
4 hrs
Total Time:
4 hrs 20 mins


  • 6 large egg yolks

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 6 cups low-fat milk

  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish

  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 9 ounces bourbon or rum

  • 6 tablespoons light cream


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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 (per serving)

184 Calories
6g Fat
15g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Serving Size about 5 oz.
Calories 184
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 6g 12%
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 107mg 36%
Vitamin A 438IU 9%
Sodium 61mg 3%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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