For me, eggnog ice cream sounded just right for the holidays.  I make ice cream all year round regardless of how incredibly cold it might be outside, but it’s always fun to make a flavor that so perfectly suits the season.  This seemed to be perfect timing since I had eggnog left over from making eggnog cranberry muffins.  So I gathered everything up, and got ready to make the ice cream.  And then I read through the ingredient list again…and again…and again.  Because I didn’t see eggnog listed.  And then I realized, it didn’t call for any.

At that point I got a little worried because I didn’t see how this could really end up tasting very much like eggnog.  I forged ahead anyway, but even after freezing the ice cream and tasting it right off the dasher, I wasn’t optimistic.  It seemed off somehow.  I stuck it in the freezer and decided to give it one more try later.  Something magical must have happened during the time that it sat in the freezer – the flavors must have mingled just right.  When I served myself a spoonful later, I couldn’t believe it.  It tasted  The alcohol and the nutmeg make all the difference in converting a plain vanilla ice cream base into something amazing.  I’m telling you, David Lebovitz knows his ice cream.  (On a related note, if you don’t already own The Perfect Scoop, I highly recommend you add it to your collection ASAP.)  I used pre-ground nutmeg instead of freshly grated, but I would love to try fresh eventually!

  • Yield about 1 quart


1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
¾ tsp. ground nutmeg (or 1 tsp. freshly grated)
2 tbsp. dark rum
1 tbsp. brandy
2½ tsp. vanilla extract


  • 01

    Combine the whole milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.  Warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, pour the cream into a large mixing bowl and set a fine mesh sieve over the top.   In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.

  • 02

    Once the milk mixture is warm, slowly add it into the egg yolks, whisking constantly.  Return the mixture to the saucepan.  Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan with a heat-proof spatula, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon (between 170 and 175° F.)  Remove the custard from the heat and pour the mixture through the mesh sieve, into the cream.  Add in the nutmeg, rum, brandy and vanilla extract and stir to combine.

  • 03

    Cover and chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.  When completely chilled, freeze the batter in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Store in an airtight container in the freezer.