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Dec 6, 2004 05:37 PM

Is there a "proper" liquor to add to Eggnog?

  • d

Hi all --

Am having a little Christmas get-together in a few weeks, and was just debating with a friend as to what we should have on hand to serve with the eggnog. I thought rum, she said Irish whiskey. In the thread below, someone mentioned bourbon and/or brandy. Is there a right one? Which tastes best?

Thanks and happy holidays!

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  1. Uh . . . Budweiser? :-)

    My understanding is that the earliest "eggnogs" were probably variations on wine punch, always popular in ancient and medieval times. I doubt that many people use wine now, but I could be wrong. I don't think there's a right answer to the question, it depends on your tastebuds; anything is conceivable, from brandy to soju, sherry to tequila. Personally I probably prefer rum, but that's mostly because that's what I am used to. If you search you'll find all sorts of recipes, with all sorts of mixes, and all of 'em are fine as long as they stir up that "Holiday Cheer."

    More critical question to me is what to mix the liquor WITH. (Who has time to make it fresh?) In Southern Cal, we have that fabulous Broguiere's egg nog in the glass bottles.


    5 Replies
    1. re: PayOrPlay

      Thanks for the links! Actually, we were planning on serving the Broguiere's eggnog, so glad to hear it's tasty. I'd love to make it from scratch, but just don't think I'll have the time that day with everything else I'll be doing.

      1. re: DanaB

        Shouldn't need to be, I've been using this bar recipe: and it only takes about 3 minutes

        1. re: farrman

          I used that recipe this year and it was great

      2. re: PayOrPlay

        I say brandy.

        Though, I agree with others that the answer to your question is no. The reason being is that there are many histories of even how egg nog was named, much less the "proper" liquor to put in it.

        The word "proper" often refers to England (as in a "proper cup of tea."). Use brandy.

        An alternate word for proper is "traditional" and that is obviously indigenous and other alchohols are appropriate, as pthers have responded.

        And, the word "authentic" is yet another variation of "proper" and often can not be proved with accuracy unless "traditional" is involved (IMO) and, by then, it is still diluted.

        The link provided by PayorPlay above has history info and the link below does as well.

        I think trying to find an answer to your question is like finding the origin of snickerdoodles. To find the origin of egg nog is distant since there have been chickens and cows for some time now providing our food and beverage. Alcohol was probably added in an attempt to preserve the eggs and milk without refrigeration. Choose from the history links.

        There are many stories.

        I would just pick one that best compliments the flavors of the egg nog you are serving. Captain Morgan spiced rum may overpower a well seasoned egg nog, yet a bitter cheap whiskey might tweek a bland egg nog to a bad flavor.

        And, since there are many flavors of store bought egg nog, I suggest offering Crown Royal brandy and Captain Morgan rum. I would also suggest offering some Mexican horchata for an alternative to the egg nog so others can feel like thay are sharing in the sweet, dessert-like beverage of egg nog and stay on their diets. White rice, fresh cinnamon spiced Horchata and Captain Morgan rum is a delicious mixed beverage, but doesn't have the dietary protein or fats so good for you that an egg nog would have. But, hey, egg nog's not all you're serving, right?

        Horchata can be found in the gorcery store by the milk in many cities, at a Mexican market, or at a some Mexican restaurants (Taco Rosa in my area.)

        Or, just call one of your favorite guests and ask them to suggest the nog liquor.

        One of my friends would suggest you serve Louis XIII cognac with the egg nog. And, another friend of mine would probably feel fine drinking four or five of those. (I can not serve it as a host that way this year and can not suggest you do either.)

        And, are you planning to serve the proper liquor from a decanter?

        Happy holidays!


        1. re: kc girl

          Agreed. Brandy is the key -- not cognac though. I think the cognac flavor is a little wasted on eggnog.

          I like the eggnog slightly warmed, and then the brandy added. Makes the best quality of both nog and brandy come to life. When I serve it at a party, I serve the eggnog warm from a samovar (not hot like coffee or chocolate, but warm) and put the bottle of brandy next to it so people can make their own.

          I've always found the other liquors (most often bourbon, sometimes scotch, also often rum) to clash with the sweet eggy/creamy flavor of eggnog, where the warmth and sweetness (but not supersweetness like rum) of brandy, along with it's balance, to mix much better with it.

          Also, I'd hold off on the nutmeg when you're serving eggnog with brandy. Something clashes between the brandy flavor and the spice. Put some in your homemade eggnog, of course, but save the shaving of nutmeg on the top for when you're serving "virgin" nog.

          Happy Holidays. Gosh I love eggnog.

      3. No, there is no "proper" liquor for eggnog. Some alcohols are more traditional than others (there was very little tequila in Victorian England) but that does not mean less traditional alcohols won't work well. I like a mix of two parts dark rum to one part bourbon which I claim combines a British and American heritage but really just satisfies my sweet tooth. I once had an eggnog made with Scotch, which was very bad but, I swear, given time, I could have made work.

        1 Reply
        1. re: brookmonton

          My dear mother also favors a bourbon/rum blend, though I don't know the exact proportions except for the fact that there seems to be a lot more nog than egg.

        2. one of my favorite guides, time-life foods of the world(1972), suggests 1 1/2 oz. jamaican rum and 2 oz whiskey for each 8-10 oz. serving. good call on the broguiere's!

          1. Paula Dean on Food TV made eggnog this weekend. Boy, did that look delicious and very simple. I'm going to try it. Recipe on

            1. Different people have different traditions. I grew up in Alabama and my grandmother always used bourbon in her eggnog.