What You Need To Consider When Spiking Your Holiday Eggnog

Love it or hate it, eggnog has staying power. And when it comes to holiday parties, the seasonal beverage can tempt party-goers with artful — and deceivingly boozy — recipes poured into festively decorated mugs. Town & Country magazine offers a variety of recipes, with ingredients ranging from Demerara and rum to Ancho Reyes Verde and matcha powder. Get as wild as you want with your celebratory tipple, but we'd like to offer a few tips to help you pour drinks that are both well-balanced and delightful, so you don't ruin decent batches of eggnog or waste precious liquor, especially over the holidays.

While nearly half of surveyed Tasting Table readers prefer to spike their holiday nogs with rum, there are other alcohols that can be mixed into cups of the festive drink. When assessing bottles at your home bar or browsing the liquor aisle, look for alcohols with a 40% to 50% ABV, suggests The Manual, regardless of how tempting it might be to tuck stronger spirits into your drink. The goal here is to keep eggnog as the main lead, with your choice of alcohol serving to enhance the drink's yearly moment in the limelight.

A main event with a bit of support

As Southern Living explains, the added alcohol of your choosing is a drink mixer, so there's no need to crack open your most expensive booze — unless you want to pull out all of the stops before the new year begins. Brandy is a common go-to, notes Southern Living, but darker rums and cognac can also get the job done. Bourbon can be added to recipes for an extra-boozy beverage, but be warned: Eggnog can easily be overpowered, and the more delicate flavors of the nog itself can be lost. Southern Living offers the guidance of using a 1-to-5 ratio, with 1 part booze to 5 parts nog, to help you keep the drink's elements in order.

If you're at a party where children are present (or you need to keep the alcohol away from a certain uncle), booze can be splashed into glasses accordingly. Allrecipes gives the helpful ratio of one shot — 1.5 ounces — of alcohol per one 8-ounce glass. Finally, to complete servings, don't forget the garnish. Sprinkles of nutmeg, a cinnamon stick, and whipped cream dollops can make cups look extra celebratory, whether or not there is booze in them.