This recipe may take significantly more time and labor than opening a carton, but we promise that it’s worth it.
This is the part where I grudgingly warn you about the dangers of consuming raw or undercooked eggs. There are plenty of cooked eggnog recipes, but unless you’re pregnant, infirmed, or allergic, I’m going to recommend you put on your big-kid Santa pants and not worry about it too much. The cooking process often results in the viscous, leaden yuck that puts so many off eggnog in the first place. At worst, you end up with boozy, sweet scrambled eggs. While I have no actual science at my disposal to back up the following claim, there is so much alcohol in this recipe, I can’t imagine any microbial creepy-crawly being able to survive in that heavily spirited environment. Just make sure all the vessels your eggs encounter — mixing bowls, storage containers, and punch bowls — are super clean before using, and that you use the freshest, best quality eggs you can find. Be brave. If you can eat fettuccine carbonara, you can drink a proper eggnog.
Separate the eggs, reserving the whites in a sealable storage container that you immediately throw in the freezer, and keep there until the night before your party. If you’re only allowing yourself 24 hours, the whites should be fine in the fridge overnight. Place the yolks in the bowl of your stand mixer (a hand beater works fine, too).
With the whisk attachment, beat the yolks until they start to change color. With good eggs, the yolks will start out a dark orange-yellow, and turn a lighter yellow as you beat them.
With the mixer going, gradually add 2 cups of sugar until creamy. Add the milk, nutmeg, and all the booze, and stir to combine.
Place the mixture in a tightly sealed jar, drop in the vanilla bean, and let it sit in your fridge at least overnight, and up to a week. The flavors will meld and deepen with some time getting to know each other. The longer you let it sit, the better it will taste. All the alcohol acts as preservative, so you don’t have to worry about it going sour.
The night before your party, pull the egg whites out of the freezer, and let them thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, pull them out of the fridge about an hour before you’re planning to serve the eggnog, allowing them to come up to room temperature.
In your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat your egg whites with a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar until they form stiff peaks. Remove the meringue to your punch bowl.
In the same mixing bowl — no need to wash it out — beat the heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks, then add it to the punch bowl.
Get your alcohol and egg mixture from the fridge — it will have separated some, which is fine — remove the vanilla bean, and stir it to recombine. Pour it into the punch bowl, and with a large whisk and a gentle touch, whisk the mixture together with the whipped cream and meringue until just combined. You want to be very careful not to be too aggressive with your whisking, or you run the risk of deflating the whole thing.
Grate some more nutmeg over the top, and serve immediately. If you think it’s going to sit around for a while (which it probably won’t given how amazing it is), you’ll want to keep it cold. A tightly sealed mason jar filled with ice and set inside the bowl should do the trick.