Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Eggnog

Eggnog wasn’t something that I had a lot of nostalgia for. Sure, I’ve spent my life around eggs and milk, and cream, but when I drink, I tend to go for the harder stuff. But I’ve been trying to change that, branching out to other beverages.

No one in my family made eggnog, but as an adult, I’ve been more than happy to churn up Eggnog Ice Cream flavored with brandy, rum, and a dash of nutmeg, using my recipe in The Perfect Scoop. However I was intrigued when I came across another version of eggnog, that had a rather uncommon ingredient in it.

This eggnog comes from The Bar Book, by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, and contains…tequila. His recipe, in that book, makes enough to feed (and satisfy) a crowd – a full gallon – which is good when you run a bar, as he does at Clyde Common.

But it also appears in a more home-friendly size in his newest book, Drinking Distilled: A User’s Manual, which was one of my favorite reads of the year. His opinionated guide demystifies many of the myths of making, drinking, and most important of all, the enjoyment of cocktails, which often gets taken a little too seriously.

His advice about not spending more than $30 for a bottle of booze will reassure anyone who thinks they need to shell out two or three times that for a bottle of whiskey. And before you send someone across the bar a drink, as a bartender, he says that it comes off a little weird asking the person behind the bar to send a drink to someone you don’t know. (“Don’t force drinks on people,’ he says.) I remember when I was at a restaurant in San Francisco and Jake Gyllenhaal came in for dinner with his mom. My dining companion asked the waiter if she could send him something, and even though my friend is completely sane (and happily married), the server advised against it.

Drinking Distilled also gives a list of bottles, and equipment, you need at home to have a decent bar without spending a fortune, which I wish I had read that before I stocked mine. (Which has become out-of-control.) He’s also taken on those “Do’s and Don’ts about how to be a good customer at a bar” lists that get published, in an article he wrote about What makes good hospitality in a bar? which he says are “designed to suck all the fun out of having a drink with friends.”

Known for poking conventional wisdom, his version of eggnog calls for añejo tequila and amontillado sherry, both of which require a little determination to find in Paris. Paris isn’t exactly a “sherry” town and even the best liquor stores may only carry one or two varieties, if they carry any at all. (Port, however, is widely available in France, usually the white variety, which is drunk as an apéritif.) Les Caves du Roy and La Maison du Whisky are places I frequent and have good selections of spirits, but both addresses require a trip across town, so I settled on a bottle of reposado tequila I had, and used another kind of sherry, that I had on hand.

Like sherry, eggnog isn’t something that’s as widely consumed in France as it is in the U.S. Their version of the egg- and milk-based drink is lait de poule, which is also spiked with alcohol, although it doesn’t have the same following it does in the States, where it’s sold in cartons, in the supermarket.

One thing the French do have are these adorable little graters packed into nutmeg jars, so you can grate the spice right before using. Unlike other spices, nutmeg really needs to be freshly grated. So I appreciate the gesture.

I brought a batch of this eggnog to an open house in Paris last weekend, at my friend Forest’s apartment. She writes a Paris cocktail blog, so knows her nog, which was loved by all. So even though Jeffrey’s bar in America is called Clyde Common, his uncommon version of eggnog was a hit across the Atlantic, for Noël.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler's Eggnog
Print Recipe
8 servings
Adapted from Drinking Distilled: A User's Manual by Jeffrey MorgenthalerThis recipe can easily be scaled up. I ended up tipping a little more tequila into the eggnog, which is the higher amount given. You can start with the smaller, and use more, to taste. Jeffrey recommends using anejo tequila and amontillado sherry, and if those are available, I suggest using them, too.For those who want or need to avoid raw eggs, you can use pasteurized eggs in this recipe.
4 large eggs
2/3 cup (170g) sugar
4 to 5 ounces (120-150ml) tequila, preferably añejo
5 ounces (150ml) sherry, preferably amontillado
12 ounces (360ml) whole milk
8 ounces (240ml) heavy cream
tiny pinch of salt
nutmeg, for garnish
1. In a blender, mix the eggs and sugar, until combined.
2. Add the tequila, sherry, milk, cream, and salt. Blend until smooth.
3. Chill the eggnog mixture thoroughly, preferably overnight, until ready to serve.

Serving: The eggnog should be served well-chilled, in chilled glasses, if possible. Dust each serving with a small amount of freshly grated nutmeg.

Storage: The eggnog can be kept for up to five days in the refrigerator.


A holiday-friendly eggnog!

Never miss a post!

31 comments

  • Linda in Bloomington
    December 21, 2018 2:41pm

    This looks delicious, but I’m curious about the use of raw eggs, rather than the cooked eggnog recipes I have also seen. Any egg safety tips?

    • December 28, 2018 8:10pm

      Both recipes I’ve posted are made with a cooked custard base. Besides the food safety/salmonella issue, I think the cooking gives the nog a better flavor. The addition of tequila is brand new to me, but since I have some on hand, I’ll give it a try.

  • Karen
    December 21, 2018 2:59pm

    This does look delicious, but the egg safety is on my list too!

  • December 21, 2018 3:09pm
    David Lebovitz

    Hi Karen and Linda: I noted just before the recipe that this eggnog can be made with pasteurized eggs. I know they sell them at most supermarkets nowadays. Enjoy!

  • rockland
    December 21, 2018 3:17pm

    Dear Mr Lebovitz,
    I want to thank you so very much for your website and the regular recipes you send.

    I was born in France, but have lived all my life in Canada. The traditions of France I missed very much, particularly the cuisine. I missed the markets and the food shops.

    Thank you so much for all your hard work.

    Whenever I get your email, I am immediately back in France for a moment.
    Happy New Year to you!

    PS. There was a baker here who used to make a gateau Basque, it was divine. Very dense with chocolate, almost fudge. He refused to give anyone his recipe. Then one day he just disappeared. I have been trying to redo his cake, with not much success. If you have any ideas on this, please share. Although, you do have some fabulous chocolate cakes yourself.
    Bravo

    • December 21, 2018 5:24pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks and glad you are enjoying the blog! : )

      I have a gâteau Basque recipe in my book, Ready for Dessert, but it doesn’t have a chocolate filling. What you’re describing sounds like it has a texture similar to Nutella. I haven’t tried using that as a filling, but if you do, I’d be interested in knowing how it came out.

  • Lise
    December 21, 2018 5:14pm

    My favorite eggnog recipe is best made months before serving (it tastes much better as it ages) and the large amount of alcohol negates the need for pasteurized eggs. It surprised me that yours says, use in 5 days. My guess is that it gets better and better with age.

    • December 21, 2018 5:22pm
      David Lebovitz

      Aged eggnog recipes usually have a lot more alcohol and sugar. Alton Brown’s recipe has 1 pound of sugar and equal parts booze to milk/cream (3 cups of each). Michael Rhulman’s recipe has a similar ratio of liquor to milk & cream. So if you’re aging it, I’d stick with what you’re using – this recipe has less liquor (and sherry has less ABV than rum, etc. which others use) so won’t last as long.

    • june2
      December 23, 2018 7:43pm

      If it’s aged does that equate to a sort of “cultured” taste, along the lines of cultured butter? Because if so I wonder if something like buttermilk would be a shortcut…?

  • December 21, 2018 5:25pm

    Rompope, the eggnog-like drink common all across Mexico during the Christmas season, doesn’t even include tequila, and this is the home of tequila! Rum is preferred, but I will have to try a bit of tequila for our holiday eggnog.

    And I will take this opportunity to thank you for your Chocolate Almond Biscotti recipe posted in 2009, which I have been making every Christmas since then. It’s now an expected part of our Christmas treats.~ Kathleen

  • Chandler in Las Vegas
    December 21, 2018 6:07pm

    For people squeamish about raw eggs, take the eggs, sugar, milk and cream and make a crème anglaise first. Let it cool, add the spirits and salt and thin with a little water, as it is thicker and richer. Easy peasy and a fuller flavor.

  • Sharon B.
    December 21, 2018 7:24pm

    I had to quit making the eggnog recipe that is made way in advance. I kept sampling to see how it was coming along. Last year I think I drank nearly all the gallon+ batch all by me-self….

    • Becky B.
      December 22, 2018 2:37am

      You’re a saint to make sure the batch was of suitable quality for your family and friends. I would recommend that you double the batch next year, sample it often, and I’m sure that there might be a wee dram left for Christmas Eve festivities. Salute!

    • Catherine Heukelman
      December 22, 2018 6:32am

      I loved reading about Sharon drinking
      her batch of eggnog all by herself….
      that’s something I would probably do
      too…had a good laugh though, so
      Thanks Sharon for the laugh!

      from Catherine in South Africa!

  • CONNIE RIZZO
    December 21, 2018 8:18pm

    I have a family recipe for eggnog that I make most years. We have always use powder/confectioner’s sugar. It blends into the eggs, almost melting. I think it would work best in this recipe also. Sort of like making frosting. Then again we separate the eggs and fold in the beaten egg whites. Makes it very rich.

    • December 22, 2018 9:49am
      David Lebovitz

      Powdered sugar can have sort of a tinny flavor, which some people comment on, which is why I don’t use it in whipped cream, etc. I think it may depend on brand. Some people make their own powdered sugar by grinding the heck out of granulated sugar until it’s powdered. (The stuff you buy has starch added, which I can often detect in things, too.) I think in frosting, it’s mitigated by all the butter :)

      • Suse
        December 23, 2018 5:04am

        Hi David. I’ve been using organic powdered sugar from my local east SF bay area Trader Joe store. It contains tapioca starch, rather than cornstarch. Amazon sells the TJ brand, as well as some others. It seems less “starchy” tasting than the regular powdered sugar brands, such as C&H. You might want to give it a whirl.

        • December 23, 2018 7:32pm
          David Lebovitz

          We don’t have Trader Joe’s in France (even though TJs is owned by a German company that owns Lidl and Aldi, two supermarket chains that are in France). Wish we had a Trader Joe’s here. They have great dried fruits and nuts!

      • june2
        December 23, 2018 7:48pm

        Me. I always make my own for each recipe in the blender. No additives, and it takes one minute – that tin flavor is horrible! I do have a vitamix so that helps.

  • Kathryn
    December 22, 2018 1:08am

    Hi David, Thanks for posting this recipe for eggnog, I plan on making it this Christmas. I have a question, how long does whole nutmeg stay fresh? I’ve had a jar so long I don’t even remember when I bought it. Does it ever go bad? Merry Christmas!

    • December 22, 2018 9:45am
      David Lebovitz

      Since it’s not ground, whole nutmeg stays fresh for quite a while. Rather than rely on a fixed date (because conditions can vary; if it’s been exposed to heat and light, etc), the best thing to do is to grate a bit and smell it; if it smells potent, it’s good to use. That said, spices don’t get better with age so it’s good to rotate your stock frequently : )

  • Clarice
    December 22, 2018 6:16am

    David, I live in Paris too and can tell you that you can find different varieties of sherry in Marks & Spencer (the British being way more into the stuff than the French!) :)

    • December 22, 2018 9:44am
      David Lebovitz

      Sherry has become a bigger thing in the bar/cocktail world (a friend wrote a whole book on it!) Marks & Spencer does have things you can’t ordinarily find here. They even have regular brandy, too!

  • Brett
    December 22, 2018 7:27am

    Thanks for the excellent recipe and tips. We live in San Diego. If you ever need a special tequila, just let us know!

  • Amy
    December 23, 2018 3:36pm

    I love that mini grater in the nutmeg jars. Alas, I have to get out my long microplaner when I’m grating nutmeg…

    • December 23, 2018 7:30pm
      David Lebovitz

      I like my microplane too for nutmeg. Rasp-style zesters and graters are not as common in French households are they are in the U.S. so they give us those adorable little graters : )

      • December 31, 2018 4:03am

        Hi David, Thank you so much for your blog. I have only visited Paris once and while I am waiting to return, your blog is a wonderful substitute.
        I agree, the microplane is perfect for fresh nutmeg, which I recently learned that the covering of the seed is called mace. I imagine the covering and the center have slightly different flavors. Do you have experience with this?
        Thanks again!

  • Deb
    December 24, 2018 9:04am

    Hi David, Thank you for the article on eggnog. I am an American in Paris for the holidays and wondered if there is any cafe or restaurant that serve eggnog.

  • Jennifer
    December 24, 2018 9:03pm

    For those who can’t do dairy, in place of the milk and cream I made this using oat milk (or “milked oats,” as the brand I purchased called it). It was delicious, though it did separate overnight. After a quick mix with a stick blender it was perfection. I’m curious to try coconut milk in place of the cream next time and see how that goes. Thank you, David!

  • Liliana Flores
    December 26, 2018 10:48pm

    Ive had this chilling in my fridge for a couple weeks, I tried some last night and it was really good. It has a unique flavor to any other eggnog I’ve ever had. This is way better than what I was expecting!

    Thank you for this recipe, David! Merry Christmas!

  • Lily
    December 27, 2018 6:26am

    Happy Birthday David!!!