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Which Liquor Mixes Best with Eggnog?

November 23, 2021

Which Liquor Mixes Best with Eggnog?

Looking for the perfect mixer for your homemade eggnog? You’ve come to the right place.

In this blog, we’ll finally determine if there’s an ideal form of booze to use for spiking the ‘nog this holiday season.

What’s in Egg Nog?

Eggnog is traditionally made with a combination of whipped egg whites, egg yolk, heavy cream or half and half, sugar, and whole milk. While these ingredients comprise your basic eggnog recipe, it’s also common to add in some alcohol for good measure.

Spiked eggnog is most commonly enjoyed in the United States and Canada, but the trend of drinking some hard ‘nog during the holidays has definitely spread to other parts of the world as well. 

In most cases, you’ll see eggnog enjoyed cold, but it’s occasionally served warm during the coldest months of the year. Some even enjoy drinking a warm mug of eggnog in the morning around the holidays. Others love using an at-home espresso machine to make an eggnog latte. We personally prefer to stick with a cold glass served spiked to punch up our night.

Why Spike Your Eggnog? 

There are plenty of reasons to add some booze to the eggnog at your next Christmas party, including: 

  • Livening things up a bit. Anytime you’re feeling a bit bored at a holiday get-together, just pour some of your favorite liquor into that pitcher of eggnog. You’ll start to notice everybody loosening up and getting a little more talkative pretty quickly!
  • It’s classy. The tradition of spiking the eggnog has rich historical roots (this mixture was popular with George Washington in Colonial America), and its origins can be traced back to medieval times.

That means that when you add your favorite form of booze to the eggnog, you’re following in the footsteps of some very important people that came before you. For an added note of history, use wooden cups. 

Mixing Liquor with Eggnog: Your Options

When it comes to spiking the eggnog, you’ve got quite a few varieties of the hard stuff to choose from.

Let’s get acquainted with the main types of liquor before determining which one goes best with the old ‘nog.

Tequila 

Tequila, made with agave, is popular for shots and for use as a base for cocktails. As an eggnog additive, it might not be your best move. The key to successfully pairing tequila with eggnog is using the liquor in moderation. More tequila definitely won’t make your eggnog taste better; you might not even like the way a little bit tastes.

The bottom line on this one is simple: Give it a try, starting with a little bit of tequila at first. If you love it, more power to you. If you hate it, go for something a bit more straightforward, like rum or bourbon. Recipe tip: Write down the ratio of how much alcohol you put in for your mixing instructions next year. 

Vodka 

Vodka isn’t necessarily the obvious choice for spiking eggnog, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it! Overall, the general consensus on vodka in eggnog is that it’s okay. 

The traditional flavor profile of vodka doesn’t really lend itself to festive drinks, but we won’t tell you what to do. Try it, and if you love it, we won’t make fun of you.

Brandy 

Made by distilling wine, brandy is often enjoyed as an after-dinner treat or used as a mixer. Overall, brandy has everything you’d want to add to your eggnog – its taste is comforting and powerful. Eggnog made with French brandy tends to have almost a floral, sweet flavor to it, and it goes down easy. You can easily get completely wasted on brandy-spiked eggnog alone—it’s just way too easy to drink a lot of it.

White Wine 

Some folks seem to think that the combination of wine with eggnog is the nastiest thing ever. Others, however, swear by pairing a dry white with eggnog and serving it with a cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon as a garnish.

Our conclusion? This combination is worth a try. However, we definitely do not recommend pairing red wine with eggnog. It’s freakin’ gross.

Liqueur 

A liqueur is a sweet variation of liquor that gets its extra flavor from added ingredients like coffee, whipping cream, cacao, fruit, or other additives.

Some of the most popular liqueur varieties are amaretto, creme de menthe, creme de cacao, and Kahlua. Amaretto is an almond-flavored liqueur, creme de menthe is mint-flavored, creme de cacao is chocolate-flavored, and Kahlua and its contemporaries are coffee liqueurs.

In general, a liqueur is more of a mixer than something you’d want to drink on its own. You aren’t likely to find anyone downing amaretto at a Christmas party this year, but you’re likely to meet a few people drinking this classic mixed into a cocktail.

When looking for a liqueur to mix into your eggnog, some of your best options are one with fruity or chocolatey notes. Cherry, orange, and chocolate liqueurs all pair well with eggnog, as does anything Irish cream…Good old Baileys.

Rum 

Rum is made from fermented sugarcane juice or molasses, and it’s commonly enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or combined with mixers in a cocktail. As far as liquors go, rum is considered pretty easy to pair with other drinks and ingredients, including eggnog. It has a distinctly sweet, maple syrup taste that cuts through just about anything, which makes it an ideal base for cocktails.

If you’re going to be blending rum into your ‘nog this year, we definitely recommend using a dark variety. A black spice, aged rum is one of your best options without a doubt, in large part thanks to its chocolatey, spicy flavor notes.

Gin 

Gin gets most of its flavor from juniper berries, and it’s often enjoyed straight or in a cocktail. While it’s definitely not a very popular move to spike eggnog with gin, you might be surprised by just how damn good it can taste. A floral gin will pair nicely with high-quality eggnog, giving the drink an interestingly fruity flavor.

Scotch, Bourbon, Rye: The Whiskey Family 

Pairing whiskey with eggnog isn’t the most popular choice, but ‘nog with whiskey definitely does have its fans. Bourbon, Scotch, rye, and the other whiskey varieties are all made with fermented grain, and the distilling process used to make them gives each variety a powerful, distinct flavor.

That means that if you put a shot in your eggnog, you’re definitely going to taste it—and feel it. Whiskey is strong, no matter which type you drink. 

If you’re using whiskey as a festive mixer, we recommend opting for bourbon. Any type of whiskey can pair well with eggnog, but bourbon is our top pick because of its oak, caramel, and vanilla notes. Rye whiskey, on the other hand, will give your ‘nog a bit more of a kick, and Scotch will add some smoky darkness to its aftertaste. 

Do We Have a Winner? 

Based on what you just read, it might be hard to tell whether a specific liquor can take home first place as the best mixer for eggnog. With so many options to choose from, it’s tough to identify a clear winner. However, we think we can make a strong case for the top three.

Here are our picks:

If You Want Extra Sweetness, Add Dark Rum 

For anyone who doesn’t think eggnog is sweet enough already, we highly recommend adding some dark rum to your eggnog. The general consensus on spiking eggnog with rum is that it’s a surefire crowd-pleaser, one with a traditional holiday flavor profile that won’t get any complaints. If you’re trying to avoid rocking the boat and want to make your ‘nog sweet and strong, rum is the way to go. 

The main reason why we prefer dark over light is simple – dark rum is aged after the distilling process is complete. The longer rum gets aged, the darker it is. Dark rum can also get its color from the use of molasses instead of standard sugar cane. 

For a Little Kick, Use Bourbon

Like dark rum, bourbon will add notes of caramel and vanilla extract to your eggnog. However, this liquor isn’t nearly as sweet or syrupy as rum, so you might want to pair it with a liqueur if you need every sip to taste like liquid sugar.

Bourbon doesn’t go down quite as easily as rum (it has a pretty intense kick), so be careful with how much you use.

For Fruity Notes, Try Brandy 

Brandy in eggnog will get you a flavor profile that sits somewhere between rum and bourbon. The kick isn’t quite as intense as whiskey, and the amount of sweetness won’t make your teeth ache like rum can.

Our top pick for brandy in eggnog is cognac, which has a spicy, bitter, and fruity set of flavor notes that complement ‘nog’s natural flavor exceptionally well. 

And Finally...Something for You Eggnog Fanatics 

If you’re looking for a way to profess your love for the ‘nog this holiday season, our “Full of Christmas Spirit” tee is exactly what you need. Available in multiple sizes and colors, this premium, ultra-comfy t-shirt is perfect for your next Christmas party!

So, no matter how you choose to celebrate the holiday spirit, be it with a totally awesome Christmas party or a chill night watching classic movies and decorating the Christmas tree, eggnog has your back. So, raise your glass to eggnog and get toasty. 

Sources:

A Comprehensive Beginner's Guide to Rum | Eater

A Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Brandy | Wine Enthusiast

16 Best Holiday Eggnog Cocktail Recipes | The Spruce Eats


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