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    What The Hell Is In Eggnog, Anyway?

    We tried to create eggnog from scratch. It went...OK.

    by , , ,

    Eggnog is the candy corn of the holiday season. You either love it or you hate it — and chances are you have NO CLUE what it's made with. We can safely assume that there's most likely some sort of eggs in eggnog, right? But what about the second half of the word? What about the nog? WHAT IS NOG?!

    We decided to gather a group of folks who both love, hate, and have never had eggnog and have them try to create eggnog from scratch — with NO knowledge of the ingredients or recipe.

    We picked five people and gave them one rule: You can only use six ingredients in the challenge.

    We set up an assortment of ingredients — some real, some fake — for the contestants to pick from.

    After they picked their six ingredients, they got to work:

    Some harder than others...

    Some with way more sugar than others...

    But in the end we ended up with five wild guesses at what the hell eggnog is. Here's what our contestants came up with...

    Contestant A

    Her recipe consisted of...

    1. Hennessy

    2. Heavy Cream

    3. Baileys

    4. Nutmeg

    5. Maple syrup

    6. Vanilla syrup

    Contestant B

    Her recipe consisted of...

    1. Bourbon (always important to have as your first ingredient)

    2. Egg yolk

    3. Cinnamon

    4. Vanilla extract

    5. Buttermilk

    6. Sugar

    Contestant C

    His recipe consisted of...

    1. Milk

    2. Egg yolks

    3. Molasses

    4. Bourbon

    5. Heavy cream

    6. Cinnamon

    Contestant D

    Her recipe consisted of...

    1. Heavy cream

    2. Milk

    3. Whipped cream

    4. Eggs

    5. Molasses

    6. Corn starch

    Contestant E

    His recipe consisted of...

    1. Rum

    2. Egg beaters

    3. Confectioners sugar

    4. Corn starch

    5. Milk

    6. Ground nutmeg (garnish)

    The finished products all LOOKED like eggnog... but we couldn't be entirely sure.

    So we brought in four judges to evaluate these Frankenstein eggnog creations.

    Things went pretty much as expected...


    In the end, however, we forced our judges to grade the monstrosities they just had just ingested. Here's how they graded them...

    From worst...

    Made with bourbon, egg yolk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, buttermilk, sugar. less worst...

    Made with milk, egg yolk, molasses, bourbon, heavy cream, cinnamon. halfway decent...

    Made with heavy cream, milk, whipped cream, egg yolk, molasses, corn starch. not bad...

    Made with rum, Egg Beaters, confectioner's sugar, corn starch, milk, nutmeg. actually drinkable.

    Made with Hennessy, heavy cream, Bailey's, nutmeg, maple syrup, vanilla syrup.

    The winner is Contestant A! Whose mixture actually contained zero eggs. But, honestly, no one really won. They all tasted like garbage.

    In case you were wondering, real eggnog is actually pretty simple:


    Adapted from Erik Lombardo's recipe for Food52

    Makes 1 drink


    1 egg yolk*

    1 oz cream

    1 tablespoon powdered sugar

    2 oz dark rum

    Grated nutmeg (optional, for garnish)

    *If you're worried about consuming raw egg, you can find pasteurized eggs here.


    If you have a cocktail shaker: Combine all ingredients (except nutmeg) in a cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Pour into a rocks glass or martini glass, sprinkle with nutmeg, and serve.

    If you don't have a shaker: Combine all ingredients (except nutmeg) in a small bowl, and whisk vigorously for about 15 seconds, until all ingredients are combined. Pour into a rocks glass or martini glass, sprinkle with nutmeg, and serve.

    Above all, next time you try to make eggnog from scratch, just avoid making it taste like baby food mixed with milk and vodka.

    It might be harder than you think.