Best Bourbon for Eggnog & How to Make the Perfect Eggnog

As the holidays approach, it’s that time of year to start thinking about festive drinks that will keep you warm and jolly all season long. And what better way to kick off your celebrations than with a classic eggnog cocktail enhanced by the rich and flavorful taste of bourbon? 

What is Eggnog?

So, what is eggnog exactly? This creamy and indulgent drink is traditionally made with milk, cream, sugar, eggs, and spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. It has been enjoyed for centuries in many different variations around the world. And while some might argue that it’s not the holidays without a cup of warm eggnog in hand, we’re here to take it to the next level by adding a splash (or two) of bourbon. 

Difference Between Bourbon and Whiskey?

But wait, what exactly is the difference between bourbon and whiskey? Well, all bourbons are whiskeys, but not all whiskeys are bourbons. Confused yet? Simply put, bourbon is a type of whiskey that must be made in the United States and must contain at least 51% corn in its mash bill. Plus, it has to be aged in new, charred oak barrels for a minimum of two years. This process gives it a distinct flavor profile that sets it apart from other types of whiskey. 

Best Bourbon for Eggnog?

Now, let’s get down to the fun part: the best bourbons for eggnog. Of course, everyone’s taste preferences are different, but we’ve narrowed down a few top picks that are sure to elevate your eggnog game this holiday season. 

  • Evan Williams Egg Nog: This pre-made version of the classic drink is spiked with Evan Williams bourbon and has been a fan favorite for years. It’s creamy, rich, and oh-so-delicious. All you have to do is add some ice and a dash of nutmeg on top for the perfect holiday treat.
  • Maker’s Mark: Known for its smoothness and caramel notes, Maker’s Mark is a great choice for those who prefer a sweeter bourbon in their eggnog. It blends well with the other ingredients and adds a touch of warmth to every sip.
  • Knob Creek: If you’re looking for a bourbon that can hold its own in a cocktail, then Knob Creek is the one for you. Its strong, oaky flavor pairs perfectly with the sweetness of eggnog and creates a balanced drink that will warm you up from the inside out.
  • Wild Turkey: This bold and spicy bourbon adds a kick to your eggnog that will leave you wanting more. Its higher alcohol content also makes it great for those who like their drinks on the stronger side. Plus, its affordable price point makes it a go-to for many bourbon lovers.
  • Four Roses: Made with 10 different recipes, each with its own unique flavor profile, Four Roses is a versatile bourbon that can be added to any eggnog recipe. It’s smooth and complex, making it a top choice for those who appreciate a good quality bourbon in their holiday drinks.

Why Add Bourbon?

So why exactly do we add bourbon to our egg nog? Well, besides the fact that it tastes delicious, the alcohol helps to cut through the richness of the drink and adds a nice depth of flavor. Plus, let’s be real, it wouldn’t be a holiday celebration without a little bit of bourbon.

But why stop at just adding bourbon to your egg nog? Here are some fun and festive ways to incorporate this beloved spirit into your holiday drinks to ensure a good time is had by all:

Bourbon Hot Chocolate

Let’s take a holiday detour to warm and cozy town with this super simple, mouthwatering, and (slightly naughty) Bourbon Hot Chocolate!


  • 2 cups of milk
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2-4 shots of your favorite bourbon (Evan Williams or Maker’s Mark would be a good choice and work perfectly)
  • Whipped cream, for topping
  • Mini marshmallows, for topping
  • Chocolate shavings, for topping


  1. In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until hot, but not boiling.
  2. Add the chopped dark chocolate and sugar, stirring until the chocolate has completely melted.
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract and continue to heat for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the bourbon. Adjust the bourbon quantity based on your preference.
  5. Pour the hot chocolate into mugs, top with whipped cream, mini marshmallows, and chocolate shavings.
  6. Sit back, sip, and let the holiday cheer seep into your soul!

There you have it, folks! A delightful twist on a classic winter warmer. Remember to drink responsibly and enjoy the festive season. Cheers!

Bourbon Cranberry Mule

Here comes a holiday twist on a classic cocktail! This festive concoction balances the sweetness of bourbon with the tartness of cranberry and the fizz of ginger beer. Perfect for those who want to jingle all the way!


  • 1.5 ounces bourbon (Knob Creek or Wild Turkey works wonders)
  • 1 ounce cranberry juice (unsweetened)
  • 1 ounce lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 3 ounces ginger beer
  • Fresh cranberries and lime wedges for garnish


  1. Fill a copper mule mug or highball glass with ice.
  2. Pour in the bourbon, cranberry juice, and lime juice.
  3. Top off with ginger beer and stir to mix well.
  4. Garnish with fresh cranberries and a lime wedge on the rim.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy this festive mule with a holiday kick!

Remember, the magic is in the mix. The bourbon’s warmth, the cranberry’s tartness, and the ginger beer’s fizz create a symphony of flavors that’ll yule your tide like never before. Cheers to a high-spirited holiday!

glasses of eggnog

Homemade Eggnog

Making homemade eggnog is easier than you might think and it’s a surefire way to impress holiday guests. First time making eggnog?  Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Quality Over Quantity: Use high-quality, fresh ingredients for the best flavor. This means fresh eggs and dairy, real vanilla, and, of course, the best bourbon you can afford. Remember, your eggnog is only as good as what you put into it!
  • Take Your Time: Rushing the process can lead to a lumpy or curdled mixture. While it might be tempting to crank up the heat to speed things up, you’ll achieve a smoother result by slowly heating your milk and sugar mixture before combining it with your eggs.
  • Chill Out: Once you’ve made your eggnog, let it chill in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld together and your eggnog to thicken slightly.
  • Spice It Up: Don’t forget the nutmeg! Freshly grated nutmeg can make all the difference in the world when it comes to flavor. And feel free to experiment with other spices like cinnamon or allspice to make your eggnog uniquely yours.

Remember, the goal with homemade eggnog is to create a creamy, dreamy, slightly boozy concoction that warms your belly and brings a smile to your face. So, don your apron, gather your ingredients, and get ready to impress your friends with the best eggnog they’ve ever tasted! 

The Best Homemade Bourbon Eggnog Recipe


  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk (Whole milk for extra creaminess)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups bourbon (Evan Williams, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, Wild Turkey – pick your poison!)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Cinnamon for garnish
  • Whipped cream (optional)


  1. Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a large bowl and the whites in a smaller bowl.
  2. Beat the yolks until creamy, then gradually add the sugar, beating until it’s fully dissolved.
  3. Heat your milk and cream in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until hot but not boiling.
  4. Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking.
  5. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in your bourbon and nutmeg.
  7. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold them into the eggnog mixture until well combined.
  8. Chill the eggnog in the fridge until it’s time to serve.
  9. Serve in glasses, topped with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and an extra splash of bourbon on top if you’re feeling extra festive.
  10. Enjoy your homemade eggnog and remember to save some for Santa! wink wink

This easy bourbon eggnog recipe strikes the perfect balance between creamy, sweet, and full-bodied. The bourbon gives it that warm, slightly spicy kick that takes the classic eggnog to the next level. Just remember, the key to a good eggnog is patience, quality ingredients, and a healthy pour of bourbon. Happy holidays!

Non-Alcoholic Eggnog

Of course, we understand that not everyone wants to add a little boozy pep to their holiday step. Fear not, my teetotaling friends, for we’ve got the perfect recipe for a non-alcoholic eggnog that’s every bit as creamy and dreamy as its spirited sibling. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 fresh eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Beat It: Separate the eggs, then beat the yolks until they lighten. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar, continuing to beat until completely dissolved. 
  2. Simmer Down: Add the milk, cream, nutmeg, and vanilla to a saucepan over low heat. Once it reaches a simmer, gradually add the hot mixture to the egg yolks, whilst continually stirring.
  3. Merge & Chill: Return everything to the saucepan and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat, combine the egg whites with 1 tablespoon of sugar, then whip until soft peaks form and fold into the mixture. Chill and serve.

Voila! A delightful, non-alcoholic eggnog that’s guaranteed to put the ‘merry’ in your Christmas, without a drop of the hard stuff. However, if you find yourself missing that bourbon burn, a dash of alcohol-free vanilla extract can add an extra layer of depth to the flavor. Enjoy!

Check out my other favorite cocktail recipes!

History of Eggnog

Now that we’ve shared our secret to a delightful, non-alcoholic eggnog, how about we dive into a brief history of this beloved holiday beverage? Yessiree, put on your time-traveling hats because we’re heading back a few centuries!  Eggnog is rumored to have originated from a British drink called “posset” back in the Middle Ages. Posset was a warm ale punch with eggs and figs. But not just anyone could afford the “posset.” Eggs, milk, and sherry were pretty fancy ingredients, which meant that this was a drink mostly for the upper class. When it crossed the pond to America, where farms and chickens were aplenty, it became a drink for the masses. The sherry, though, got replaced with the cheaper and readily available domestic whiskey, and later on with bourbon. Thus, the eggnog we know and love was born.

The name “eggnog” is a bit of a mystery, but one theory is that it’s derived from the word “noggin” – a term used in the 17th century to describe a small, wooden, carved mug used to serve alcohol. So, imagine telling your friends at the next holiday party, “Hey, pass the egg-noggin!” It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Store-Bought versus Homemade

As we journey through the land of eggnog, it’s essential we tackle the age-old debate: store-bought versus homemade eggnog. The pre-packaged eggnog you nab at the grocery store, although convenient, often lacks the depth of flavor and creamy goodness you get from a homemade recipe. And let’s not forget, store-bought eggnog usually comes with a host of unpronounceable ingredients.

On the other hand, whipping up a homemade batch, you control what goes in. Fresh dairy, farm-fresh eggs, a smidge of sugar, and a dash of nutmeg – it’s simplicity at its finest. Plus, the satisfaction of sipping on a cup of eggnog you prepared yourself? Priceless! So, while there’s nothing wrong with a store-bought carton in a pinch, if you have the time and ingredients, homemade is the way to go. After all, nothing says “holiday cheer” quite like a frothy glass of homemade eggnog, ideally with a splash of bourbon for good measure, sitting by the Christmas Tree. 

What if I don’t like Bourbon?

Well, hold on to your Santa hats, because I’m about to drop a holiday bombshell on you. Ready? Here it comes: you can use another spirit in your eggnog if bourbon isn’t your cup of tea (or glass of spirits, to be accurate). I know, I know, it’s a shocker. Take a moment to let that sink in. Now, if you’re a rum enthusiast, swap that bourbon for some good ol’ spiced rum to give your eggnog a Caribbean twist. If whiskey’s more your speed, go ahead and toss it in.  

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Or try a splash of dark rum.  Dark rum, with its rich, sweet, and spicy profile, can work wonders in your eggnog, giving it a depth of flavor that’s quite unlike anything else. Imagine savoring your eggnog but with a hint of molasses, caramel, and a dash of vanilla.  Just be wary of the Scotch, unless you’re a fan of eggnog with a smoky aftertaste. What matters most is that your holiday cheer comes with a little kick and a whole lot of flavor. So, don those ugly sweaters, pour your spirit of choice, and let’s toast to versatility!

bowls of eggnog ice cream with an ice cream scoop

Eggnog Ice Cream

Can you make eggnog ice cream and add bourbon?  Absolutely! It’s like the Christmas miracle you didn’t know you needed. Think about it – the creamy, icy goodness of ice cream combined with the rich, festive flavors of eggnog, and of course, that wonderful hint of bourbon. It’s the holiday season in a bowl! Making it is a breeze too. You just need some eggnog, sugar, and cream. Oh, and the bourbon – let’s not forget the bourbon! Chill the mixture, then churn it in an ice cream maker. After a few hours in the freezer, you’ve got yourself a scoop of heaven. It’s sure to be a hit. Just remember to serve it quickly – this is one dessert that’s not designed to ‘chill’ by the fire!

Bourbon Eggnog Ice Cream Recipe


  • 2 cups eggnog
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Maker’s Mark Bourbon or Evan Williams (Your choice, no judgment here!)
  • A pinch of nutmeg


  1. Combine eggnog, heavy cream, sugar, and bourbon in a large bowl. Whisk until sugar is fully dissolved. 
  2. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker. Churn according to manufacturer’s instructions, until it looks like soft serve.
  3. Transfer the mixture into a lidded container. Sprinkle a pinch of nutmeg over the mixture.
  4. Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours, or until firm. Preferably overnight if you can wait that long!
  5. Scoop into bowls or cones, and serve immediately. 

This Bourbon Eggnog Ice Cream is the perfect holiday treat. Enjoy it by the fire, watching your favorite Christmas flick, or even as a midnight snack (we won’t tell!). Remember, diet resolutions start after New Year’s!

And a few more bourbon ideas…

So whether you’re looking to add some heat to your holiday celebrations or just want to enjoy a deliciously boozy treat, don’t forget to reach for that bottle of bourbon. Cheers to a happy and festive holiday season!   And remember, don’t be afraid to experiment and try out different eggnog recipes and cocktails featuring this beloved spirit. After all, that’s what the holidays are all about – indulging in delicious drinks and sharing good times with loved ones. So raise your glasses and let’s toast to a merry and bourbon-filled holiday season!  Now go out there and spread some cheer with your newfound knowledge of the best bourbon for eggnog. Happy sipping!  

Here’s a Bonus!

And because I’m feeling festive, let’s add a few more classic cocktails into the mix that make good use of our favorite spirit – bourbon! Which bourbon cocktail is your favorite?

  1. Old Fashioned: You’ll need 2 oz of bourbon (I’d recommend the classic Maker’s Mark for this one), 1 sugar cube, 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, a splash of water, and an orange twist for garnish. Muddle the sugar cube, bitters, and water in a glass. Add a few cubes of ice, and the bourbon, and then garnish with the orange twist. It’s a timeless classic that never fails to impress.
  2. Whiskey Sour: Grab 2 oz of bourbon (I’d go for Wild Turkey here), 3/4 oz of fresh lemon juice, and 1/2 oz of simple syrup. Shake it all up with ice and strain it into a chilled glass with ice. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice. Voila! You’ve got a tangy treat that’s perfect to toast the season!
  3. Mint Julep: This one’s a Kentucky Derby classic! You’ll need 2 oz of bourbon (Knob Creek works wonders), a handful of mint leaves, 1/2 oz of simple syrup, and crushed ice. Muddle the mint leaves and simple syrup in a glass, add the bourbon and top with crushed ice. Stir until the glass is frosty, top up with more ice, and garnish with a mint sprig for that extra pizzazz.

Remember these are just guidelines and the true secret to these recipes is to adjust to your own taste. Now go forth, mix, sip, and savor. Happy holidays – and happier drinking!