A Dozen Ways to Upgrade Your Eggnog

All the 'Nogs

We've got a dozen variations on the classic. Ready?

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt except for bottom right, Maria Del Mar Sacasa

So we all know that store-bought eggnog is not the best, right? (See the results of our tasting here). If you want to serve the sweet frothy, boozy-ice-cream-in-a-glass during the holidays, you're much better off making it on your own. If you want to make it the old fashioned way, we've got a great hand-whisked recipe for it here. It's delicious, but no joke, it can be a bit of an arm workout, especially if you're making several batches.

If you happen to have a stand mixer, an immersion blender with a whisk head, or an electric handle-held mixer, you're in luck, because with those tools, you can get to take your noggin' into the 21st century with this recipe.

But hang on a minute. What's that? You're sick and tired of plain old nutmeg-scented 'nog?

Well, my friends, you've come to the right place, for we've got not one, not two, not even three, but a full dozen ways to upgrade your eggnog with a few simple supermarket staples. Any of these alterations will work with either the hand-whisked or the mixer recipe.

Is spice your thing? Gingersnap Eggnog adds a splash of ginger liqueur to the mix along with a sweet rim of ground gingersnap cookies. If you prefer your 'nog a little more savory, try the Maple Bourbon Eggnog, which—if you absolutely must—you can garnish with crispy bacon bits.

Swapping some of the milk with buttermilk adds an awesome tanginess to your eggnog which goes well with a bit of grated lemon zest for Lemon-Buttermilk Eggnog. I'm not one of the many pumpkin-inclined folks out there—the kind who'll use the winter as an excuse to shove pumpkins into the most unreasonable of places—but I would, however, partake in a Pumpkin Eggnog made with pureed pumpkin and some warm spices.

The smokiness of Scotch pairs nicely with light brown sugar in Butterscotch Eggnog, which should obviously be served with a big fat cigar. Or, if you're more like my wife and prefer something equally rich but far more tropical, you could go with Coconut Eggnog made with coconut milk, allspice, and toasted coconut flakes.

Speaking of coconut sweets, sometimes you just feel like a nut (or two), which is when you should opt for Double Nut Eggnog, made with peanut butter and a dash of hazelnut liqueur. For more straight-up hazelnut flavor combined with chocolate, a bit of Nutella mixed into your 'nog base will get you some sweet, sweet Nutella Eggnog. It's like eating the stuff straight out of the container but without the guilt! Strike that, it's got all the guilt, but at least it's got some booze mixed in there to help you deal with it.

Bittersweet chocolate melted into the cream forms the base for Chocolate and Spice Eggnog, which gets hit with cinnamon and a pinch of ground chilis. It's eggnog just like they drink in Mexico...or wait, strike that. That would be Rompope, the almond and vanilla flavored version.

Cappuccino Eggnog is made with double coffee—both brewed espresso and coffee liqueur go into its base.

I don't always drink coffee, but when I do, I drink it in my eggnog.

And just because it rhymes with coffee, we'll do a Toffee Eggnog as well. Caramel in my 'nog? Yes please!

That's it from me. Get the base recipe here, and click through the slideshow to get detailed instructions for all the variations.

In the meantime, tell me: how do you guys like to juice up your holiday eggnog?