White House Eggnog

White House Eggnog

One of the highlights of a White House Christmas party is a cup of the luscious, velvety, high-octane eggnog. If you’ve never had real eggnog, this is the recipe to use. It’s nothing like the stuff that comes in a paper milk carton in the dairy section of the grocery store, which usually ends up tasting more like the milk carton than like the actual beverage. This is a complex mix of alcohols, cream, eggs, and spices – so rich and decadent and satisfying – and just one cup will leave you feeling all warm and Christmas-y inside.

White House Eggnog

There have been many versions of this recipe passed around over the years, and while I cannot say this is THE definitive secret White House Eggnog Recipe, I feel pretty confident about my sources. I love it! The recipe must have grown out of medieval English milk punches, with their exotic mix of ingredients and a healthy dose of spirits. It makes me feel like putting a sprig of holly in my hair and belting out a few choruses of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

I make it every year – even if there’s only one or two people to share it, because it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without it. It’s not for children, and it’s very rich, but that’s why it’s such a special treat at such a special time of year.

White House Eggnog

White House Eggnog

Makes 12 servings, 2 quarts


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 cups half & half
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 cup rum
  • ½ pint whipped cream for garnish
  • Freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Place sugar, vanilla and egg yolks in blender.
  2. Blend well and add half and half.
  3. Add bourbon, brandy and rum.
  4. Stir until well mixed.
  5. Pour into serving bowl.
  6. Whip cream and pile on top of eggnog.
  7. Dust top with nutmeg and serve.
  8. To fill our punchbowl I had to make a double batch.
    White House Eggnog Bowl

Notes: Some members of the White House Residence staff recommend making the eggnog days in advance and allowing it to rest in the refrigerator until just before serving, to enrich the flavors. Others have suggested the addition of a pint of eggnog ice cream be placed in the punchbowl and allowed to melt into the eggnog as it’s served. I’ve tried letting the eggnog rest for several days and it was even stronger than a freshly-made batch. Adding eggnog ice cream would be fine, as long as it’s a good eggnog ice cream.

This recipe contains raw eggs and should not be consumed by pregnant women, or anyone whose health could be compromised.

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  1. Oh, WOW! I will have to make this. I am truly enjoying your blog. Merry Christmas!

  2. Your glasses are gorgeous! May I ask where you found them?

  3. This sounds delicious and highly spirited! I will have to go run out and get the bourbon, rum and brandy. I was using Amaretto with Shamrock Eggnog. But, this sounds so much more delicious.

  4. Yum! Thanks, Leah! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  5. So excited to make this (aka make my dad make this)!!

  6. I was at the White House Christmas party on December 16th and tasted their infamous egg nog! It was beyond amazing. While this recipe sounds amazing, I do not think it is what is served in the White House. I asked the woman who was serving it and she said that their secret is egg nog ice cream. Maybe try adding that to this recipe! Yummy!

    • That sounds like a good idea, but what the server may have thought was ice cream was actually partially-frozen eggnog which was meant to keep the eggnog very cold as it melted. I hope you give it a try and enjoy it!

      • Thanks, I am going to try it. Pretty sure she was right on–egg nog ice cream being the “secret” ingredient was the talk of the party.

  7. Elizabeth Rogers

    I look forward to trying this version. I ‘d like to see other recipes posted from the White House kitchen chefs.

  8. Any concern over the raw eggs?

    • Think of eggnog as a thin form of custard. And by that I mean it is thin for a pudding – it will be thick and smooth to drink. I would whisk six eggs together with 3/4 cup of sugar. Then put three cups of whole milk into a pan and heat at low-medium heat. Pour in the egg and sugar mixture and whisk constantly, raising heat to medium. Don’t forget to whisk and don’t let the heat go too high or you will get scrambled eggs!
      Let it cook until it thickens, and add 1 cup of heavy cream and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Keep whisking until mixture is thick and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. Sprinkle with nutmeg and serve. The colder it is, the better. Enjoy!

      • I add two or three drops (a little goes a long way) of cinnamon oil to my eggnog, for a very yummy flavor. It is the same oil I use when making rock candy.

  9. Is there a virgin recipe? Or would it be the same just sans the alcohol??? Sounds delish though!!

  10. Debbie Wallace

    Will it be as good without the alcohol??

  11. food.com has recipe using ice cream. Sounds good. Probably needs to be scaled down.

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