Holiday Cheers

Choose a simple shaken eggnog for a cozy evening in or tom and jerry batter to mix once and pour often. Get cocktail recipes at
Every year, when nights start to crackle with cold and I’m cozying up to the woodstove, my alcohol tastes shift. Instead of a gin and tonic, I order an old-fashioned. We buy more bottles of whiskey and fewer bottles of tequila. And I even find space for the occasional rich milk-and-egg drinks like eggnog and its warm cousin, tom and jerry.

I’ve made many variations on eggnog over the years before settling on a quick recipe that makes a pair of drinks at a time, perfect for an evening in. You’ll note it uses raw egg. I always recommend fresh eggs from a well-kept flock, but I became even more confident in the recipe when I learned that a scientist at Rockefeller University found bacteria can’t stand up to a mixture of raw eggs and 20 percent alcohol.

Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe below, but here are the basics:
You need just 3 main ingredients plus some kitchen staples and alcohol.
1. Dry shake the ingredients.
2. Shake again with ice.
3. Pour, garnish with nutmeg, and enjoy.

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Homemade Eggnog

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: 1
  • Print
2 eggs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
6 ounces whole milk
4 ounces heavy cream
2 ounces white rum
2 ounces dark rum, brandy, whiskey, and/or bourbon
ice for shaking
freshly grated nutmeg to taste

Combine all ingredients except the ice and nutmeg in a cocktail shaker. Vigorously dry shake the mixture until well blended and frothy. Add the ice and shake again until chilled. Divide between two glasses, sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg, and serve immediately. Serves 2.

Tips & Tricks
  • I used to make eggnog by beating the egg whites, yolks, and cream separately. This makes a stiff eggnog but uses many bowls for a couple of drinks, so now I use the technique only if I’m making a batter (see below). This shaken version is more delicate but ready in a snap.
  • Dry shaking before adding ice makes it easier to emulsify the egg and alcohol. You can skip the second shake with ice if you prefer a less chilled pour.
  • I’ve made this recipe with a range of dairy fats, from 2% milk to half-and-half to entirely heavy cream. I like the whole milk–cream blend best, but play with what you tend to have on hand. The same applies to your booze choices.
  • The Rockefeller study found homemade eggnog was completely sterile after 24 hours, and aged eggnog has started to become the rage; some people are keeping it for up to a year—and loving it or hating it. I haven’t tried aging it that long, but if you’re nervous about the raw egg you can make it a day ahead and reshake just before serving.
  • Some recipes for drinks with eggs temper the yolk, like you would for Hollandaise. I don’t like the cooked flavor in my cocktails, and the alcohol does a better job of taking on any bacteria than the low heat added by tempering. If you’re still concerned or want to make a virgin version, consider using pasteurized eggs.
  • If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can try a canning jar with an old lid and ring, since this drink doesn’t need to be strained; be sure to hold it over the sink in case it leaks. For an upgrade, I got one of these Mason Jar Lifestyle cocktail shaker lids that screw onto a regular-mouth jar a couple of years ago and have loved using it.

Choose a simple shaken eggnog for a cozy evening in or tom and jerry batter to mix once and pour often. Get cocktail recipes at

Twice as Tasty

Choose a simple shaken eggnog for a cozy evening in or tom and jerry batter to mix once and pour often. Get cocktail recipes at started enjoying dairy-based cocktails more than a decade ago. Variations on milk punch weren’t part of my family’s holiday repertoire, which always leaned toward Gløgg and Hot Buttered Rum. Even today, I enjoy them sparingly, since they taste as fatty as they are. But if you make them yourself from scratch, you at least avoid the high-fructose corn syrup and additives that fill store-bought versions.

The tom and jerry is a fairly new cocktail for me but a Midwest holiday classic from the 1800s. I’ve come to love this warm, spicy version of an eggnog. Where a simple shaken eggnog is perfect for a cozy evening in, tom and jerry batter is ideal for a party or to spread out over a few cozy evenings: mix once, pour often.

Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe below, but here are the basics:
You need just 2 main ingredients plus some spices and alcohol.
1. Beat the egg whites and yolks separately.
2. Combine into a batter.
3. Serve with alcohol and boiling water.

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Homemade Tom & Jerry

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Print
T&J Batter
3 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ounce rum
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
pinch of ground cloves
T&J Cocktail
2 ounces T&J Batter
1 ounce rum
1 ounce brandy, Cognac, whiskey, or rye
2 ounces boiling water
freshly grated nutmeg to taste

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff. In another medium bowl, beat the egg yolks well, and then gradually beat in the sugar. Add the rum and spices. Fold the stiff egg whites into the yolk mixture until well mixed. Transfer all of the mixture that you don’t intend to use immediately into a lidded container, refrigerate, and use within a week.

To serve, put batter into each mug. Add the alcohol and then the boiling water without stirring, letting the batter rise to the top. Sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg, and serve immediately. To use all the batter at once, have a 375-milliliter bottle of each liquor on hand. Serves 10.

Tips & Tricks
  • Cream of tartar stabilizes egg whites, which is useful if you aren’t serving all of the batter immediately. You’ll still want to give it a good whipping before serving it out of the fridge.
  • My first T&Js were overly sweet, so I dialed back the sugar, something I also did with Homemade Eggnog. Sweet lovers may want to restore some of that sugar.
  • Freshly ground spices give the best flavor, but preground ones work if they haven’t spent years on your shelf. As with Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cookies, you can grind up more than you need in a spice blend that will also be delicious sprinkled on Dutch Babies, stirred into Russian Kasha, or baked onto Sweet and Spicy Nuts.
  • A traditional tom and jerry floats the foamy layer over the toddy below it. You can replace some or all of the water with milk, which will give the entire drink more of an eggnog texture, just hot. Adding the alcohol before the hot ingredients will keep the eggs from curdling.

Want to play with more variations? Twice as Tasty is teaching these techniques in a workshop held in your own kitchen, among friends—and with my personal help. Click here to learn more.


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