What's In Eggnog? This Popular Holiday Drink Earned Its Name For A Reason

'Tis the season — for fighting crowds of people at the mall who walk entirely too slowly, indulging in peppermint bark and candy canes, and whipping up a fresh batch of eggnog. A lot of people wonder what's in eggnog, a classic holiday beverage; in fact, I'm one of these people, because my only memories of the drink involve my mom leaning over to me at the annual family Christmas party and whispering, "Don't drink that." To this day, I have yet to try it.

Eggnog seems to be one of those things people either love or hate, perhaps unsurprisingly. The boozy and raw ingredients in eggnog make it a giant question mark for many of us. There are variations of this drink that you can make at home that exclude certain ingredients; and many times, when you buy eggnog at a grocery store, it'll be a more PG version of the traditional recipe. But if you're making eggnog at home and want the real deal, you'll have to put aside any reservations and commit, darn it.

Like most popular Christmas traditions, eggnog has a history all its own. And throughout the years, it's grown a big enough fan base that it's expanded into eggnog cookies, eggnog lattes, and other spin-offs. If you want to try the drink that started it all, here are the most common ingredients.

Raw Eggs


Traditional eggnog calls for you to separate the yolks from the whites, which is a lot easier than you think when you know the right hacks. The whites will eventually be whipped until they form peaks.

Milk And Cream


We're talking whole milk and heavy cream. Eggnog doesn't mess around. Go big or go home.



This is typically mixed in with the egg yolks, because sugar is always the answer.



Brandy, vodka, cognac, and whiskey are all popular choices. Not mixed together, though; that way, a headache lies.



Nutmeg and cinnamon frequently make guest appearances in eggnog. (Just, y'know, not as much cinnamon as the cinnamon challenge requires.)

Of course, this only covers the homemade stuff; anything you get in a carton is going to have other things in it, of course. The ingredients will also probably change if you decide to make, say, healthier eggnog or vegan eggnog. The basic idea is always roughly the same, though — and it's definitely full of holiday cheer. Have fun, kids!

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