Three-week-old eggnog (left) and year-old eggnog (right) look at pretty much identical.

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Aging eggnog because that a couple of weeks sound a small dicey. Aging it for a year sound insane. The perishable parts of eggnog—milk, cream, eggs—could quickly last a couple of weeks if effectively refrigerated. Yet how many civilization have voluntarily consumed year-old milk and also eggs?

A few, as it transforms out—including Michael Ruhlman. Aged eggnog is nothing brand-new (though most people don’t wait an entire year come consume it). It’s most likely that earlier before contemporary technology, when hens no lay eggs in the winter, eggnog would have actually been made in the fall and also then maintained in a cool ar until the holidays. George Washington reportedly produced his own eggnog recipe involving rye whiskey, rum, and also sherry, i beg your pardon he’d allow sit for numerous days in a cool place. According to, it was “reputed to it is in a stiff drink that only the most courageous to be willing come try.” and also many of the recipes because that aged eggnog that have actually surfaced online date ago to the late 19th and early 20th century. (Sadly, there were none in the old cookbooks I newly wrote about.)

Whether it’s 3 weeks old or three years old, aged eggnog is actually more secure to drink than fresh eggnog made with raw eggs—as lengthy as you placed plenty the booze in it. (Not that raw eggs space all the dangerous in the an initial place. The USDA approximates that one in every 20,000 eggs consists of salmonella bacteria, which means that the average customer would conference a contaminated egg when every 84 years.)

In 2009 microbiologists at the Rockefeller institute for medical Research decided to check their hypothesis that the alcohol would kill any kind of bacteria in the eggnog they made in the lab every holiday season (from the so late Dr. Rebecca Lancefield’s recipe). They do the eggnog prior to Thanksgiving together usual, but added enough salmonella to mimic getting between one and also ten poor eggs to the recipe and also then tested it for bacteria end a three-week period. Including the alcohol instantly reduced the variety of bacteria, but there to be still lot of left. ~ a mainly there to be still quite a few, yet after three weeks the eggnog was totally sterile.

The proportion of alcohol to various other ingredients matters because that sterilization, of course. Scientific research Friday’s Flora Lichtman, who’s extended the Rockefeller experiments, stated that the concentration of alcohol in the finished eggnog is 20 percent. Yet when Cook’s Illustrated tested out the recipe, they discovered that it to be 14 percent alcohol, which matches increase pretty well with the 13.5 percent ABV that i calculated (I assumed the they supplied 80-proof alcohol and big eggs).


Santina CroniserA shooting from last year of including the brandy to the eggnog

The recipe the I supplied when i made eggnog to age last November (which is what I’ve had in the back of my fridge for the critical year) is various from Lancefield’s, but turns the end to have almost exactly the same ABV. Other recipes because that aged eggnog leave the end the dairy until after the aging process, which creates a high sufficient concentration that alcohol come kill any type of bacteria but likewise dials down the alcohol prior to serving. Fourteen percent alcohol might not sound like that much—it’s just a little an ext alcoholic 보다 your average wine—but it makes for part pretty boozy-tasting eggnog. That recipe by George Washington that “only the most courageous were willing come try,” by comparison, would have been a fairly tame ten percent alcohol.

When ns made eggnog critical year (from this Chow recipe, via Michael Ruhlman’s blog) I discovered that aging because that a few weeks did without doubt tame the alcohol addict burn of the eggnog—while that didn’t make the nog taste any less boozy, that did seem far better balanced. Three weeks earlier I make the same recipe and put that in the refrigerator to period alongside last year’s batch, and also earlier this week i did a side-by-side tasting. The three-week-old eggnog tasted lot like i remembered the from last year’s batch: rich, creamy, and sweet, with an alcohol addict kick that lingered ~ above the finish.



The year-old version looked similar at first, yet when i poured it, ns realized that had come to be thicker and much more viscous. I’d meant the extra aging to mellow the booze and meld the flavors, yet it did simply the opposite. The alcohol asserted itself sharply at the forefront, complied with by creamy sweetness. Over there was an ext depth and also complexity that flavor than there was in the three-week-old version, yet the booziness made it a little difficult to drink.

Pretty lot every short article I’d review said that aged eggnog will proceed to boost the much longer you keep it—Ruhlman make the efforts a two-year-old eggnog a few years ago and loved it—but ns did uncover one blog article that disagreed. Critical year Booze Nerds do the efforts six different versions that the exact same eggnog cooking recipes (not the one ns used), fresh and aged because that up to 5 weeks, with all the one-week intervals in between. They defined the four- and also five-week-old execution as having an “eggy, nearly metallic flavor” that they didn’t like; the three-week-old eggnog was the favorite. Ns didn’t taste any type of metallic flavor in mine eggnog, but I wonder if what they were describing was comparable the sharpness ns noticed in the year-old eggnog.

I later on tried a toned-down variation of each version (two parts eggnog come one component milk/cream mixture), which permitted the flavors of the an ext aged eggnog to come through better. By comparison, the three-week-old eggnog actually appeared a little flat—very creamy, yet with less intricacy than the more aged version. They’re both very good (in small quantities), but I’d probably include a tiny less milk and cream to the younger one.

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If you want to age your favorite eggnog recipe, Cook’s Illustrated uses this guideline to ensure the you incorporate enough alcohol come sterilize it: usage at least 1.5 ounces the 80-proof liquor for every egg, and don’t include the dairy until you’re prepared to serve it. It’s obtaining a tiny late to period eggnog because that Christmas, yet if you made it this weekend it would be prepared to drink before brand-new Year’s. Or you can live top top the leaf and shot it after simply two and a half weeks, since the odds the it’s infected v salmonella in the first place are really low. If you’d fairly not hazard it, simply use pasteurized eggs.


Tagged: aged eggnog, George Washington, Michael Ruhlman, Rebecca Lancefield, Rockefeller institute for clinical Research, safe eggnog, salmonella, Vol. 44 No. 11, year old eggnog