Back in December we came across this video. In it, Erik Chapman over at Sun Liquor reveals their aged eggnog recipe (recipe here for those that don’t want to transcribe it). Erik says that they age their eggnog for a month and it’s vastly improved. We here at Booze Nerds were very curious about a couple things. One, is it safe? Two, does the aging actually make a difference? After some research, we discovered that it was probably safe from going off as long as you keep it cold and away from light. We also came across this article which says that the booze actually kills off all the nasty things. So we weren’t going to poison ourselves. But is it actually worth the hassle of keeping jars of this stuff in your fridge for weeks or months?
So began our experiment. We decided that we would make one batch of eggnog a week for at least a month, including a fresh batch at the end, and then do a double blind taste test to see which ones we liked. We used Willett 11 year bourbon, Plantation Guadeloupe 1998 limited edition rum, and Pierre Ferrand 1840 cognac for our spirits in this experiment. So here we are 5 weeks later. We took all of the batches of eggnog out of the fridge and shook them up to reincorporate them. One of us labeled the glasses and filled them, then the other mixed them up so we wouldn’t know which ones were which. What we found while tasting was very interesting.
- 12/9/12 – This was the oldest batch at 5 weeks. We all found this one to have a strong eggy almost metallic flavor. Christa and Shaun found it to be our least favorite. Julia didn’t mind it but she also didn’t love it.
- 12/16/12 – 4 weeks – Again with the strong eggy almost metallic notes. Second least favorite for all 3 of us.
- 12/23/12 – 3 weeks. The favorite of the bunch. All 3 of us ranked this one our #1 choice. It was the smoothest of the bunch with just a little bit of foam. It was still delicious and fresh-tasting with a very silky body.
- 12/30/12 – 2 weeks. This one was Christa’s 2nd choice, Shaun’s 3rd and Julia’s 6th. We had inadvertently included a little bit more booze in this one than the others. So it came out a little bit thinner and had next to no foam, but with more of a bite from the spirits. Not bad if you like your eggnog on the little bit boozier side.
- 1/6/13 – 1 week. This one was very smooth with a little bit more foam than the others. It was Christa’s 4th, Shaun’s 2nd and Julia’s 3rd choice.
- 1/13/13 – Freshly made. This one was very foamy with a nice thick rich mouth feel of fresh dairy, and the booze fairly muted. This one was tied as Julia’s favorite, and was Christa’s 3rd and Shaun’s 4th.
So after all of this, we discovered that 2-3 weeks is optimal for getting a silky and well-integrated eggnog. 3 weeks may be the maximum you want to age your eggnog, as it starts to develop less delicious characteristics after that. We found the older batches of eggnog to be somewhat unpleasant, but if you like more metallic notes in your eggnog then perhaps you should age it longer.
Note we did discover that adding an extra 1/2 oz of booze when serving helps improve the ones we liked (assuming you enjoy a fairly strong eggnog).
Hope you all had a lovely holiday season, and that you can use what we learned here to make your next even more enjoyable.
Update: If you’re looking for an eggnog recipe you can make the day of or other egg based holiday drinks, check out our Nogs and Possets post.
Update 2: Do you need to age the dairy as well? We got mixed results.
Update 3: Want to take a few shortcuts? Turns out all the work is worth it.