Bourbon Eggnog Ice Cream

A Christmas syllogism. Major premise: delicious eggnog must come from the carton. Minor premise: my eggnog ice cream is made with milk, heavy cream, sugar, and egg yolks. Conclusion: my eggnog ice cream is not delicious. Syllogism disproved. Suck it, Aristotle. ‘Cause my eggnog ice cream is the jam. To wit, it is the jimmy jam. I blame New Year’s Eve 2001 for my personal aversion to homemade eggnog (sorry, Mags) but all of us have our reasons. And the festive Hood carton is just so poetic. With its cardboard heft and pilled and crusty triangle spout, it is a marvelous feat of human engineering. You only need a sip, or three. This lesson was learned at age seven, when, with what novel and fleeting freedom from mother’s pan-optic glare, you pour yourself a tall one, like a crinoline-clad teamster, and down the glass in one chug, only to witness the contents of your stomach come clamoring in the wrong direction, stammering from your lips, and ceremoniously displayed on the tile floor. A tiny sip is all you need. Noted. From a diminutive cut-glass cup with a precious handle that only appears in December, along with the foot-high Santa who walks on wheels and shakes his bell mechanically, construction paper ornaments blistered with macaroni, and armloads of tangled colored lights that cause your father to curse. Make some joyous holiday memories tonight!

Bourbon Eggnog Ice Cream
Adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 oz bourbon


In the bowl of a stand mixer combine egg yolks and sugar until light yellow and well-blended. Meanwhile, in a medium sized pot, boil milk, cream and nutmeg, stirring gently. Slowly temper the dairy into sugar and eggs. Return to the stove and heat until 160 degrees F. Remove from the stove and pour in the bourbon. Chill in the refrigerator for four to six hours, or until the mixture cools to 40 degrees F. When properly chilled, process with an ice cream machine according to the instructions.

Though I don’t care for his affect and the awkward bits of eccentricity on his program, Alton Brown is a genius food scientist. This recipe works. The ice cream is luscious-fantastic-smooth and boozy. I like it velvety, and of a whipped consistency. But make it as you like it. It came together in the ice cream machine in about thirty minutes, then became solid-ish in the freezer after an hour an a half.  If you have an ice cream maker and a soul, I highly recommend trying this. Get cozy under a blanket, put the digital yule log on TV and enjoy this melty Christmas bliss.

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.

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