The basic ingredients for eggnog are milk or cream, raw eggs, sugar and nutmeg. Eggnog often includes alcohol, most often rum, brandy or bourbon, but it can be made as a non-alcoholic beverage.
The milk or cream creates the base of this dairy drink. Some recipes use both milk and cream. The amount of sugar can be adjusted to match preferred sweetness levels. About 1/3 cup of sugar for 2 cups of milk is a solid starting point, but the cook can add more as desired.
The eggs that go into the eggnog are whisked to create a frothy texture. Some recipes call for the entire egg, while others only call for the yolks of the eggs. Some recipes instruct the cook to heat the mixture including the eggs. Recipes that don't heat the eggs do come with the risk of salmonella.
The flavorings added to the eggnog also vary. Vanilla is often mixed into the eggnog for flavoring. Nutmeg is a common spice used to flavor eggnog. Cinnamon is another option.
Garnishes finish off the homemade eggnog drink. Some people sprinkle the nutmeg or cinnamon on top of the eggnog. Other garnish options include a dollop of whipped cream, mint syrup or chocolate curls.