Aged Eggnog: Safe or Not?

Every year at this time, the question arises, Is it safe to drink eggnog that has aged in your fridge? It’s a simple idea: you make a batch of homemade eggnog, spike it, and leave it in the fridge for weeks or even months. As the eggnog sits in the fridge, its flavor changes. It tastes more rounded and mellow and less boozy.

I’ve never really tried it. We have a jar in the fridge with spiked eggnog, but the nog itself was purchased premade from a vendor at our local farmers market. (Yes, I cheated.) But every year I want to, and every year, I forget about it until mid-December.

The question is, Is it safe? Will the ‘nog get yucky from germs as it sits, or will the booze kill any pathogens?

NPR’s Science Friday tackled the question. For years, it seems, the microbiology lab at New York’s Roosevelt University has made a batch of eggnog in November, before Thanksgiving. They age it for five or six weeks, and then drink it at Christmas. No one’s gotten sick from it. So, being microbiologists, they decided to test it. They laced a batch with salmonella, aged it, and tested the results. Science Friday was on hand to film the results.


3 thoughts on “Aged Eggnog: Safe or Not?

  1. This is awesome! I did the Chow eggnog the last two years (made in July both times–planning to do a full year in 2010), and I must admit that I was a tiny bit nervous about drinking it. Thanks for sharing this and freeing me to be nervous instead about keeling over from a heart attack after consuming so much fat, so many calories, and such a large amount of alcohol in a single glass 🙂


  2. Nice post! I’ve always scoffed at salmonella, et al. Now I have more evidence. At the expense of grossing people out, I’ll relate this story. I’ve never tried aged eggnog, but in college we had an annual holiday party (aka drunk fest, same as our other parties but people dressed nice, we had a 40′ tree, and a drunk santa). For the inevitable dreary cleanup the next day, step 1 is to take all the not emptied glasses and pour them in a tub to go dump. That year my co social chair and I decided to see what might become of this beer, champagne, punch, milk, egg, and cream sludge if aged for a while, so we filled a growler with it and stashed it in the fridge until the following year’s party.

    Now, after a year had passed, I’m not saying it tasted good exactly, but it was certainly at least not as bad as you might think, and we were no worse for wear…


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