Try this single-serving Baileys eggnog recipe for an incredibly quick and easy holiday cocktail made with just four ingredients.
When I was a kid, I knew the holiday season had arrived when a carton of eggnog appeared in my grandparents' fridge. My grandfather loved the stuff. I was all too happy to enjoy a glass of the creamy eggy beverage, but it wasn't until I was old enough to add a splash of brandy did I come to appreciate eggnog all the more. It's like alcohol and eggnog were made for each other. In fact, if you look at the origins of the drink, they were.
The problem is, I hate to buy a whole carton because I'm the only one who drinks eggnog in our house. While it's easy enough to make a homemade version, most recipes will have you whipping up a half gallon to serve a dozen of your friends. I did that once, and guess what? I was the only one there who liked eggnog and I spent the next several days drinking it all on my own so it wouldn't go to waste. You know that kid in Matilda who has to eat all the chocolate cake? Yeah, that was me.
So what's one to do when you're sitting on the couch one evening watching Home Alone, alone, and find yourself craving a simple glass of eggnog? You whip out your cocktail shaker and you make a single serving.
There's an easy way to make eggnog in a flash by simply shaking up eggs with cream, milk, and sugar in a cocktail shaker. This approach is traditionally used for making an eggnog cocktail and includes a spirit such as bourbon, brandy, or rum. The result tastes a heck of a lot like eggnog (I mean, it is eggnog) without having to buy or make a whole carton.
In this recipe, I changed the basic cocktail up a bit by making a Baileys Eggnog by using Irish cream in place of spirits. Irish cream includes whiskey and real cream, and that means you already have your spirit and cream ready to go. I just like to add a little additional cream to the cocktail to give it that fresh dairy taste. The result, along with the egg, an optional splash of maple syrup, and nutmeg, creates an extra smooth drink that's easy to sip without an overwhelming taste of alcohol.
Speaking of things that go well together, the holidays were made for cocktails, weren't they? If you're looking for other unique beverages for the season, or winter in general, check out my Hot Buttered Rum and Pomegranate Rosemary Cocktail recipes. Or for alcohol-free options, try this Thai Coffee or Honey Citrus Mint Tea to help warm you up from the cold.
The nice thing about making a glass of this Baileys eggnog is that you probably already have what you need.
- Baileys - Baileys has all kinds of flavors out these days and feel free to experiment. I've only made this cocktail with the original Irish variety to keep the classic eggnog flavor. And of course, you can use any Irish cream. It doesn't have to be Baileys. If you want to try making yourself some dairy-free Irish cream, I've got a recipe for that, too.
- Light Cream or Half and Half - I always have half and half on hand, so that's what I use. Half and half is commonly sold in the US for coffee and is made with equal parts cream and milk.
- Eggs - This recipe, like many eggnog recipes and other cocktail recipes out there, includes raw eggs. I know some people have strong feelings about that and that's fine. Don't make this recipe if you have concerns. There are several cooked eggnog recipes you can try. Alton Brown's is my favorite. While there is a slight chance of bacteria, if you follow some basic best practices, you shouldn't have a problem. And as far as the texture, the drink is smooth and creamy, and you don't get any sense of raw egg. More on this below.
- Maple Syrup - An optional addition for a bit of sweetness. I think it helps create an eggnog that's close in taste to what you can buy in the carton, which is typically sweet.
- Nutmeg - One of the best parts of eggnog is that bit of spice, which commonly comes from nutmeg. And you can't beat freshly grated nutmeg. If you only have preground, that's fine. Just do yourself a favor and get a few whole nutmeg when you can.
- Cinnamon stick - This is just for a festive garnish. You can certainly skip it. But again, it helps add a bit of spice scent to the drink as you sip.
See the recipe card below for quantities.
This cocktail will take you just a few minutes to prepare. If you can shake, you can make your own Baileys eggnog.
Start by measuring the Irish cream and pouring it into a cocktail shaker.
Then add the cream or half and half.
Add in a whole egg.
Add some ice halfway up the shaker.
Strain the cocktail into a martini glass.
Put the top on and give it a good shake.
Shake and try not to spill, like me.
And give it another good 15-second shake. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and serve.
Tip: The cocktail should be served immediately and will taste best when ice cold.
Cream - You can use whole milk or your preferred milk in place of the cream or half and half. But honestly, it won't be as good. You need a certain degree of fat present in the drink to add to its thick creaminess. A less-fat alternative will result in a thinner, watery cocktail.
Baileys - Any Irish cream will work in this recipe. It doesn't have to be Baileys.
- Without alcohol - Omit the Baileys and replace it with an equal amount of cream. But then you'll just have a basic eggnog.
- With brandy - Brandy goes great with eggnog, and if you don't mind increasing the alcohol level, try adding in a ½ ounce of brandy with the other ingredients
If you like to make cocktails I'm guessing you already have a decent shaker and strainer in your bar kit. If not, it's worth the investment. But if you don't have either, a large mason jar with a lid and a kitchen sieve will work fine. And if you don't have a martini glass to serve this in, use whatever else is handy.
Shake, shake, shake. For the best consistency, don't skimp on the shaking. Follow the recipe and shake before and after adding ice to your shaker in order to best incorporate the egg and create a creamy, delicious beverage.
I'm no health or food safety expert and I can't make any guarantees. I drank many of these as I tested my recipe and I always felt fine after. But that's me. Use your best judgment, follow suggestions for drinks with raw eggs, and if you have concerns, find another recipe.
While there are good substitutes for egg whites in cocktails, such as the aquafaba from canned chickpeas, I don't think that will work well in this particular recipe. You need the egg yolk for that eggy taste and the egg white for a bit of foam. It is eggnog after all. I haven't researched or tested egg yolk alternatives that I can recommend, but if you have one, feel free to share it in the comments below.
While brandy is most traditional, I'd say it's a matter of personal preference. Since this recipe uses Baileys as part of the process of making the eggnog, it's a critical component. As mentioned above, you could also add in brandy if you wanted.
In case you didn't read any of the above, this drink includes raw eggs. Here are some best practices when it comes to using eggs in cocktails to reduce your risk of bacteria.Print