"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear" — or serving Buddy the Elf's favorite maple eggnog, which is sure to give you all the holiday vibes in no time! While most eggnog recipes are sweetened with sugar, this recipe uses maple syrup as a nod to Buddy's favorite food group. The maple syrup gives this eggnog a warmth and richness that make for the most decadent holiday cocktail.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Made for Buddy the Elf lovers: If you’re like me, you instantly smile the moment you see Buddy. What better way to make the most out of the jolliest season by raising a glass in honor of everyone’s favorite Christmas elf? This drink adds an extra festive holiday spirit that’s sure to make for a more memorable time and fun conversation starter.
The real maple syrup: Most classic eggnog recipes are made with white sugar. While they may be tasty, the maple syrup adds a richer, more complex flavor. One taste and you’ll never go back to sugar in your eggnog again.
That simple, make-ahead preparation: Not only is homemade eggnog simple to make but it’s best to make it at least the night before any festivities to give it plenty of time to chill. That way, your hosting duties are as laid back as can be.
Related: If you love all things maple, you’ll also want to sip on my maple whiskey sour.
Maple syrup: We only want real maple syrup here. This is not the time for that fake pancake syrup. I like to use grade A maple syrup for its perfect balance of sweetness and richness.
Eggs: The eggnog base calls for just the yolks rather than whole eggs, but if you’d like an optional frothy topping, don’t forget to reserve a few whites.
Whole milk: Unless you have dietary constraints, I don’t recommend substituting a lesser-fat type of milk. Whole milk has a much richer flavor that the other types of milk can’t replicate.
Heavy cream: Similarly, reach for the full heavy cream instead of half and half. You may notice it’s also referred to as heavy whipping cream.
Spices: We use cinnamon sticks, ground nutmeg and whole cloves for the perfect hint of spice.
Optional liqueur: While you can certainly serve without it, a little liqueur adds some extra cheer. You can take a page from my Baileys eggnog and add everyone’s favorite Irish cream. Dark rum, Kahlua, brandy, and bourbon — particularly my orange-infused bourbon — are also tasty options. You have a lot of variations here.
Step 1: Our first step is to beat the egg yolks in a large bowl so that they lighten in color and transform into an ultra smooth texture (photo 1). I prefer to use a hand mixer because it’s a bit quicker, but you can hand whisk if need be.
Step 2: For the second step, we bring milk, heavy cream, maple syrup, cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract, nutmeg, whole cloves and pinch of salt to a simmer over medium heat in a small saucepan (photo 2). As soon as the milk mixture simmers, we turn off the heat.
Step 3: Now it’s time to strain just some of the milk into the egg mixture (photo 3) and whisk. We repeat this step until the milk mixture fully incorporates into the beaten yolks. You may wonder why we do this in steps. This process is known as tempering the eggs, which keeps the eggs from scrambling from too much heat.
Step 4: Just like that, our eggnog base is ready. If we’d like an adult spin, we go ahead and stir in our desired spirit (photo 4), cover and refrigerate.
Step 5: For an optional frothy egg white topping, we whip the reserved egg whites until soft peaks form (photo 5) and spread the foam over each filled glass and dust with a little cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg (photo 6). This adds a lovely light texture to go with that rich eggnog.
Now find a cozy spot by the fire with good company and enjoy this holiday sipper.
Eggnog is traditionally prepared with raw eggs. This means there’s an inherent risk, but it’s minimal. Use inspected eggs stored in the original container in the back of your refrigerator where it's the coldest. For an extra safety precaution, you can even use pasteurized eggs, and never use a cracked egg.
Keep the eggnog covered in the refrigerator, and it should last for three days. See? It truly is the perfect drink recipe for easy entertaining.
Sure, that’s not a problem. This maple eggnog is absolutely delicious without it, and I have skipped it if I don’t have time or am serving pickier guests. It simply adds a nice frothy touch if that’s your style.
Make an eggnog bar: If you’re serving adults and children, you can leave out any spirits from the big batch and then put a few bottles out for guests to add directly to their drink. This is also great because it allows your guests to customize their drink based on their favorite spirit.
Keep it to no more than a simmer: Boiling can cause milk to separate. All we need is a simmer.
Add it to your latte: Skip the milk and use this recipe to make your very own eggnog latte.
Use freshly grated nutmeg: You can’t beat the flavor of freshly grated nutmeg. To do this, run a whole nutmeg back and forth against a microplane grater or the smallest holes on a box grater.
Refrigerate overnight: This gives our maple eggnog plenty of time to chill as well as allow the flavors to better meld together.
If you ask Buddy, I'm sure he'd recommend his famous candy-covered, maple syrup-drenched spaghetti. I love Buddy, but I have to pass.
Instead, this maple eggnog is perfect with a fudgy, rich brownie or big slice of pumpkin gingerbread. The creamy, milky body perfectly washes down a thick brownie, and that sweet maple flavor is the perfect backbone to gingerbread spices.
I hope you spread a little Christmas cheer with Buddy the Elf's favorite maple eggnog. Your holiday celebration has never been so jolly.
Thirsty for More Holiday Drinks?
If you love this recipe, please leave a comment with a five-star rating — or simply hit the five-star button in the recipe card. Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter, and you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok.
Buddy the Elf’s Favorite Maple Eggnog
- Medium saucepan
- 6 egg yolks reserve 3 egg whites
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup real maple syrup
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg preferably freshly grated
- ½ teaspoon whole cloves
- Pinch of salt
- ¾ to 1 cup liquor or liqueur of choice depending on your preferred strength, optional
- 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 desired liquor or liqueur if using. 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.
- My favorite alcohol options are bourbon, vanilla bean-orange-infused bourbon, spiced rum, brandy, Kahlua and Baileys.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.