Even if "holly jolly" should rightfully be your middle name, the holidays can be, in a word, stressful. Luckily, a liberal application of sweet, boozy eggnog can fix that right up. If you're being honest with yourself, any type of alcohol will do the job, but which type of whiskey goes best with eggnog? It's a question for the ages — and one worth answering for yourself. But while it's tempting to turn it into an experimental drinking game, trying a different type of 'nog-and-whiskey every time your uncle says something problematic at the dinner table, the cost to your wallet and your liver would add up fast. So in the interest of saving you some cash, allow Bustle to be your whiskey-soaked guide to eggnog this season.
Eggnog can be traced back to early medieval Europe, where a milky, alcoholic drink called "posset" was popular among the wealthy. (They tended to be the only people able to afford the expensive ingredients.) Over time, posset came to include eggs and figs, until it eventually became the drink recognizable as eggnog. Traditionally, it combines milk, cream, sugar, spices, some kind of alcohol, and of course, eggs. Back in ye olden days, the eggs were raw, but today, they tend to be pasteurized for fear of infections like salmonella.
Written down, it all sounds singularly unappealing. Boozy milk? Raw eggs? If I didn't know better, I would give eggnog a hard pass. But while some people loathe the drink with a fiery passion, it has a loyal following of consumers. Many 'nog purists rely on their own recipes rather than the stuff sold at grocery stores, claiming mass-produced eggnog simply isn't the same. Given that the FDA regulates the amount of egg yolk companies can use in commercial eggnog recipes, they may have a point.
Whether you make it yourself or snag it from a grocery store shelf, though, eggnog just isn't the same without alcohol. Most people agree that dark alcohols like rum and cognac go best with the drink, although some recipes call for tequila (Texas Farm Nog, anyone?) or gin.
That brings us back to the original question: Which type of whiskey is best to add to your eggnog as soon as Aunt Brenda shows up on your doorstep, three nieces in tow? Although some recipes, including George Washington's, call for rye whiskey, bourbon is the traditional choice. More importantly, it consistently places well in online taste tests. As Maxim described it when comparing alcohols, bourbon is a crowd pleaser, if a bit predictable.
"Nothing to object to about this mix other than a lack of imagination. Americans have been making Jacknogs for centuries (look up the “Eggnog Riot”) because they taste fine and the buzz is terrific. That said, a peatier whiskey might be a more interesting choice."
One choice I would personally advise against? Scotch. Eggnog is a powerful flavor, and if it overpowers the alcohol, you just wasted an expensive whiskey.
While whiskey is a common addition to eggnog, it's hardly the only way to spike your 'nog. Brandy and rum are quite popular, and many recipes require a combination of multiple types of alcohol, usually pairing cognac or sherry with whiskey or rum. Martha Stewart's classic eggnog recipe cuts out the middleman and calls for both bourbon and rum. If you're feeling bold (or bored), you can go for clear alcohols like vodka or gin. Just maybe do a taste test of your own to make sure you like it before you make an entire batch at once. On the flip side, the more you drink, the better it will taste. (Probably.)
But if you don't have the time or inclination to experiment, bourbon is a safe choice to add to your eggnog. Cheers!