Give your next holiday party an extra spirited touch with this luscious, creamy Baileys eggnog! Homemade eggnog is prepared with a medley of warm seasonal spices and rich maple syrup, and then gets a healthy dose of everyone's favorite Irish cream to add a little festive fun. The holiday season isn’t complete without whipping up a batch of Baileys and eggnog — your guests will love every decadent sip.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
The most indulgent eggnog base: Sure, we could throw together store-bought eggnog with Baileys Original Irish Cream and call it a day, but then it wouldn’t be the very best Baileys eggnog. Hey, it’s the holiday season, and we deserve something special. A recipe is only as good as its ingredients, so we start with the most delicious homemade eggnog base to deliver one drink everyone will adore.
Simple to make: If you’ve never made your own eggnog, don’t worry. The process is surprisingly simple and takes very little effort, even during this busy season.
Designed for make-ahead preparation: Entertaining is always easiest when make-ahead recipes are on the menu. Eggnog is perfect for that. Since we want a perfectly chilled drink, we make this at least a night before serving.
Baileys: This is the most well-known brand of Irish cream and commonly used as a generic term for that type of liqueur. That said, you’re more than welcome to use another brand or even a homemade Irish cream.
Whole milk: Eggnog is all about indulgence, so we absolutely want whole milk, not a lesser-fat variety. The other types lack that wonderfully rich flavor and fuller body. Of course, this is a different situation if you have dietary constraints, but if not, grab the whole milk.
Heavy cream: Like above, we want full heavy cream, not half and half. Sometimes it’s labeled as heavy whipping cream — they’re interchangeable.
Maple syrup: Please hold the fake pancake syrup. Only real maple syrup will do. For its combination of sweetness and richness, I recommend grade A maple syrup. Oh, and if you love the flavor maple syrup adds here, make sure you also check out this maple bourbon sour.
Eggs: We mostly use the egg yolks, but I recommend reserving a few whites for an optional frothy topping.
Step 1: We begin by beating the egg yolks in a mixing bowl until they’re nice and silky like so (photo 1). While you can certainly whisk the egg yolks by hand, a mixer makes the process a bit more efficient. For now, we set the yolks aside.
Step 2: The next step is to add the milk, heavy cream, maple syrup, cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract, nutmeg, whole cloves and pinch of salt to a small saucepan and simmer the mixture over medium heat (photo 2). Once it begins to simmer, we turn off the heat.
Step 3: Now we strain some of the milk mixture into the egg yolks (photo 3) and whisk. We continue this process until all of the mixture is incorporated into the egg yolks. This is called tempering the eggs, and it helps prevent turning the yolks into a scramble.
Step 4: With the base of our eggnog ready, we stir in the Baileys Irish Cream (photo 4), cover and refrigerate. I recommend refrigerating overnight. Not only does this ensure the drink is perfectly chilled but it also gives the flavors time to meld.
Step 5: This next step is optional. For a frothy egg white topping, we whip egg whites until soft peaks form (photo 5) and top each glass with the foam and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon and nutmeg (photo 6). You’ll just love this way this adds an airiness in contrast to our thicker-bodied eggnog.
All that’s left is to raise a glass of this creamy eggnog cocktail and toast to the festive season!
Not at all — it simply adds a delightful frothiness. Raw egg whites are mostly flavorless, so it’s all about the texture. While this may sound weird, traditional British eggnog incorporates whipped egg whites, and they’re a common cocktail topping, like in sour cocktails.
I recommend keeping the eggnog covered and storing in the refrigerator for about three days. Of course, that’s assuming it lasts that long. Once you take that first sip, you’ll want to keep coming back for more.
Absolutely! I’ve used this eggnog base with so many other spirits, such as dark rum, brandy, Kahlua and bourbon. This orange-infused bourbon is especially tasty with it. Feel free to experiment.
Turn your eggnog into a Christmas cocktail. While this festive drink is delicious as is, it also makes a great eggnog martini. For this variation, simply shake 3 ounces of eggnog with an ounce of vanilla vodka and ice in a cocktail shaker, strain into a martini glass, and sip away.
Give your hot chocolate a holiday boost. Instead of making your hot chocolate with milk, use this Baileys eggnog — it's as simple as that.
Swap sugar if necessary. While I highly recommend opting for maple syrup for the richest flavor, you can substitute white or brown sugar in equal parts if you're in a pinch.
Grate your own nutmeg: Freshly grated nutmeg is so much more flavorful. Simply rub a whole nutmeg against a microplane grater or the smallest holes on a box grater, and you have fresh nutmeg.
Do not boil the eggnog: Milk can separate if it’s boiled, and there’s no saving it at that point. You’d have to start again.
Plan ahead: Since we need time to refrigerate the Baileys eggnog, don’t leave this to the last minute. Make sure you take care of all your grocery shopping and have your ingredients ready to go.
Add a festive garnish: A cinnamon stick, star anise or candied rosemary will give you an extra boost of holiday cheer.
Clearly, you love Baileys, so make sure you try it with this Irish whiskey chocolate cake filled with a Baileys mousse. The maple syrup perfectly complements the whiskey undertones, and then you get a double dose of Irish cream flavor. For pairing with more Baileys-inspired recipes, you also can’t go wrong with my absolute best Baileys ice cream.
I hope you get extra festive this Christmas season and make this Baileys eggnog recipe. It’s sure to make you and your guests feel the holiday spirit.
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- Small saucepan
- Fine-mesh sieve
- 6 large egg yolks reserve 3 egg whites
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup real maple syrup preferably grade A
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg preferably freshly grated
- ½ teaspoon whole cloves
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ½ cups Baileys Original Irish Cream
- Beat the egg yolks until they're smooth and slightly lightened in color. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, bring milk, heavy cream, maple syrup, cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract, nutmeg, whole cloves and pinch of salt to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil. After the mixture comes to a simmer, turn off the heat.
- Strain some of the cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the egg yolks and whisk. Repeat this process until all of the milk mixture is incorporated.
- Stir in Baileys. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- For an optional frothy topping, whip the reserved egg whites until soft peaks form immediately before serving and use to top each glass. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and nutmeg if desired. Enjoy!
- Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Separate the eggs straight from the refrigerator while they're still cool. If they sit at room temperature, they don't separate as well.
- Plan ahead. The eggnog needs time to chill, so make it at least a day before serving.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.