Single-Serving Eggnog

It’s December, so that means it’s time to make Eggnog!

Right around Thanksgiving, grocery store dairy cases start to fill up with cartons of Eggnog. Most of these are non-alchoholic, thick concoctions that are heavy on the sugar. And there’s nothing wrong with these eggnogs, but the best nog is one you can make.

A traditional eggnog is a variant of a flip, which started out as a drink made with an entire raw egg combined with ale. But over time a flip has evolved to mean any drink made with a raw egg.

Eggnog dates back to at least 1788 as cocktail scholar David Wondrich explains in his excellent Imbibe! — the definitive guide to the history of cocktails. The book features a whole chapter — Chapter Five if you’re curious — dedicated to egg-based drinks.


Recipes for the perfect eggnog are too numerous to count. Some are rather complicated, requiring time on the stove, and intended for a whole batch of nog. But I was more interested in making just enough eggnog for one person. I’ve tried my hand at making single-serving variants of many of these recipes, mixing and matching them to find a combination of process and ingredients that was simple and quick to make.

So with all that preamble out of the way, here’s the recipe I’ve cobbled together for a single-serving Eggnog.

Single-Serving Eggnog Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Bourbon
  • 2 ounces whole milk
  • 1 ounce heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 Whole Egg

Traditionally, a good nog was made with brandy, rum, or a combination of the two, but any spirit will do the trick nicely. That said, I’m of the opinion that the amber-hued spirits make for a smoother nog-drinking experience.

This recipe results in a fairly sweet beverage (though not overly so). If you prefer your eggnog to be a bit heavier on the spirits, dial down the sugar to 2 teaspoons. Of course you can swap out simple syrup for sugar (3/4 ounces or so). But I prefer the mouthfeel granulated sugar lends to the final concoction.

How to Make Single-Serving Eggnog

Start off by adding all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and give it a good shaking. This step is known as a “dry shake” (because there’s no ice). With any drink that calls for raw egg, a dry shake really helps to mix it up well and ensure it’s fully emulsified. With eggnog, this step also helps to dissolve the sugar.

After the dry shake, open the cocktail shaker, add a good amount of ice and shake it again. Then strain it into your glass of choice. Top it off with grated nutmeg and a slice of orange peel. It’s best if you grate the nutmeg yourself, but failing that, a dash or two of ground nutmeg works just fine.

Bar Essentials


By David Wondrich. The definitive guide to American cocktails.

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