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in the kitchen with: jen altman’s black-spiced rum eggnog

by Kristina Gill

Usually, I would wait until closer to Christmas for a recipe like this, but it is so versatile that I wanted to give you the chance to try it out a few times waaaay before the holiday. By the time Christmas comes, you will be the star of all your holiday parties, thanks to this week’s recipe for Black-Spiced Rum Eggnog by photographer Jen Altman. Jen is one of my favorite artists and a joy to follow on Twitter. I never tire of stories of her three daughters and, of course, her recipes, which we have featured in the past here and here. If anyone has a special eggnog ingredient or tip they’d like to share, chime in! Here’s to a great December! — Kristina

About Jen: Jen Altman is a photographer, stylist, writer and freelance editor. Her background in design and photography have gained a worldwide following through her noted Polaroid blog, Nectar & Light, and her new food blog, Nectar. The 500 limited-edition copies of her self-published title, For the Love of Light: A Tribute to the Art of Polaroid, sold out across the globe in two short months. Photographs from the book were the basis for Chronicle Books’ Polaroid Note Cards. In 2009, Jen styled and photographed Super-Charged Smoothies by Chronicle, published in March 2010. Her work has been featured in publications by Somerset Studio and Small Magazine and seen online at Oprah Magazine and Epicurious.com. She recently moved her family of three young daughters, her husband and a Schnoodle named King Ludwig from Brooklyn, New York, to Asheville, North Carolina.

The full recipe continues after the jump!


Black-Spiced Rum Eggnog
Makes 6–8 servings

Ingredients & Preparation

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup half + half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz. black-spiced rum
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepot and bring to a simmer, stirring continuously for about 5 minutes. It’s important to stir regularly to keep the milk from burning or a skin from forming on the top. Turn up the heat, keep stirring until the milk begins to gently boil, then remove from the heat and set aside.

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer or with an electric mixer until the yolks are glossy and pour in a smooth ribbon. Add a cup of the milk mixture to the yolks and whisk until fully incorporated. Continue adding the milk in one-cup portions to the yolks until they are thoroughly combined. It’s important to do this slowly — called tempering — so the hot milk does not cook the yolks. Once you’re done mixing, place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour.

When the milk and yolk mixture is ready, pull it out of the fridge and set aside.

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Whisk the whites and sugar together until medium peaks form. Add about a quarter of the whites to the yolk and milk mixture and whisk gently until fully incorporated, being careful not to whisk the air out of the whites. Add the remaining whites in three more parts to the yolks and milk. Once fully mixed, refrigerate until thoroughly chilled before serving.

A little extra . . . the perfect topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons black-spiced rum

Whisk ingredients together in a chilled mixing bowl until medium peaks form. When serving the eggnog, top with this delicious cream and a dash of nutmeg.


Why Jen Loves This Recipe

What is better than a chill in the air, a warm fire and a cup of eggnog?? It is a quintessential holiday staple. This recipe offers a special little kick with black-spiced rum — our favorite is the Kraken. The label immediately sold me, but the deep, dark complexity of the flavors wed me to this rum forever. However, this recipe can easily be made kid-friendly by omitting the rum. Additionally, you can use it as French toast batter, and we LOVE to pour about three cups of this eggnog in a blender with a couple monstrous scoops of vanilla ice cream to make late-night Eggnog Shakes. It lasts in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for a week and up to two weeks with the rum in it.

Suggested For You


  • We got a snowstorm in Boulder yesterday, I’m putting up my Christmas tree tonight, and this eggnog is perfect for the occasion. Jen and her girls are awesome, by the way. Happy Friday!

  • Awesome! My husband and I were just talking about making our own eggnog the other day. Thanks for reading my mind!

  • Sounds fantastic. The mason jars are such a great rustic touch with the red and white straws.

  • This looks amazing but I don’t think I’m brave enough to try tempering eggs! Or patient…I’d end up with egg drop soup nog. I definitely need to get some rum & whipped cream to top off our local dairy’s nog offering, though!

  • Mmm, I gotta try this recipe! I was just talking about eggnogg with my boyfriend and he’s only ever had the premade stuff from the carton! Blagh!

  • wow. this looks absolutely incredible. perfect for a christmas party! and i love the presentation (in my opinion, everything tastes better coming from a mason jar – so rustic!).

  • Here’s the real mind-blower of this already mind-blowing recipe: you can make eggnog French toast???? FRENCH TOAST??? What?? Why haven’t I thought of this before? Such a great idea. Will be making this weekend! Love!

  • Oh boy, I can see that something this yummy is going to cause us some problems with TRYING to be good during the Holidays – calorie-wise, I mean. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Looks like a lot more work than crackin’ open the carton… but the images are so beautiful I could actually be inspired! The KRAKEN rum is most certainly on the Christmas shopping list… what a great looking gift!!

  • these photographs are making my mouth water!!!

    This recipe sounds delish! Thank YOU!! Will definitely make a round or two of these for a holiday dinner this year!

    Thanks! and Happy Holidays!!!

  • This recipe sounds really delicious. The fact that you can turn this into French toast makes me really happy. Would it be too much to drink the eggnog and eat the eggnog for breakfast? Probably, but I’m going to anyways!

  • The recipe say 1 cup half + half – but not of what ingredient – help im confused!

    • Kirsty,

      Half & half is the ingredient – it’s another name for light cream basically (or half cream and half milk). it differs from heavy whipping cream but should be found in the same area of the grocery store. Hope this helps!

  • You actually don’t need to temper the eggs. You can buy whole pasteurized eggs that can safely be consumed raw at many grocery stores — just google “whole pasteurized eggs” to locate one. I would never bother making eggnog if someone else didn’t do the tempering for me!

  • This is beautiful! I feel like of all the delicious cold weather drinks (hot toddies, white russians, Irish coffee, etc.), eggnog is the most left out and in need of an update, which this does beautifully. The black spiced rum and homemade-ness of it all is the perfect touch.

    And boozy milkshakes? I’m in.

  • i made this eggnog the day the recipe was posted but i kept it much lighter and halved the recipe – .5 of a cup of heavy cream and 2.5 cups 2% milk. it was glorious rich, i can’t even imagine what the original would be like! decadent to the max, i bet.

    i have to ask, why the inclusion of half and half? it’s unnecessary. half and half is half heavy cream and half whole milk. no sense in buying an additional carton of something!

  • This looks super delicious, but I’m worried about the raw egg whites. I could pasteurize my own eggs, but then would I need to skip some of the steps? Any tips would be great. Thanks!

  • I just made it almost exactly like it says. I did add more booze tho..Its so rich you almost have to. Perfect egg nog.

  • Love the picture and the recipe. Where did you get the red and white string you wrapped on the jars? I have heard it called Bakers Twine, but I can not find it anywhere I shop. I would love to know where to get some. Thanks. Tawnya

  • Made this for my Christmas party and it was a BIG HIT. People told me it was the best nog they’d ever had. The rum whipped cream was the perfect touch.

  • Hi, I’d like to know what half+half is exactly. I live in Britain and I’m not sure I have seen that. Thanks

  • Hi there! In the process of making your beautiful eggnog now in hopes to be the star at the party on Saturday. 2 questions for you: Making tonight for a party on Saturday. Does the nog need to be covered in fridge? Also – can you make topping in advance? Thanks for any help!

  • One more question! Is the egg white + sugar addition supposed to settle at the top? I whisked it in and left if over night. When I stirred it this am, it mixed ok but wasn’t as airy as I hoped…sorry for all the questions! THanks

  • Just the name alone makes me swoon. A little Kraken in the eggnog sounds like a very good thing. Can’t wait to try it!

  • This recipe looks and sounds fabulous. One question, since the milk/rum mixture is brought to a boil, does this ultimately burn of the alcohol content and make it a non-alcoholic drink? many thanks!

  • Last year my family and I decided we would try our hand at homemade egg nog, this was the recipe we followed. Only change was using Paul Masson Brandy rather than the Kraken because we had it on hand and the stores were closed. It was amazing!! Way better than any store brand I’ve ever had. Back to pull the recipe to make it again this year!