Several historical collections in South Carolina have eggnog recipes that antedate Sarah Rutledge’s of 1847. Milk drinks were spiked with wine in England prior to the colonial era. Brandy was the popular spirit for about 100 years; then rye appears to have become the favorite. Bourbon is king in the Lowcountry today, though many eggnog enthusiasts prefer blended Canadian whiskeys. The real secret to perfect nog is to dribble the spirits into the mixture, drop by drop. This is a very old-fashioned type of eggnog, with sweetened, stiffly whipped egg whites whipped into the cool custard. It is very light on the palate, so the amount of liquor is reduced from other recipes, because you will find you and your guests drinking more than you had planned. Some versions leave out the whites. If you do, double the amount of cream.


  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 cup bourbon or spirit of your choice
  • freshly grated nutmeg


Beat the egg yolks with half the sugar until they are well mixed and light-colored. Stir the milk and cream into the yolk mixture. Chill thoroughly. When ready to serve, beat the egg whites until very stiff, gradually adding the remaining sugar, and set aside. Dribble the spirits into the chilled milk mixture, stirring constantly, then fold in the beaten egg whites. Top with freshly grated nutmeg.