Is Rum or Bourbon Better For Eggnog? (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on August 22, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Choosing the best liquor to spike your Eggnog is probably one of the most stressful decisions you’ll have to make if you’re a newbie in the spirits world. So, is rum or bourbon better for Eggnog? 

Let’s put an end to this relentless debate now.

Rum or Bourbon: What’s Good For Eggnog?

Rum Bottle

Rum is better for Eggnog because its distinctive flavor profile blends seamlessly with the egg-based cocktail. Rum also packs a punch that’s perfect for some occasions we want our drink strong.

Even if the Eggnog is a little sweet, you can still taste the toasted spice notes.

However, you can also try bourbon for your Eggnog. The liquor’s flavor pops out of the drink, making it an excellent mixer for any cocktail.

In-Depth Comparison

Tasting Notes

Bourbon Bottle

Rum is sweeter than bourbon because it is made from sugarcane molasses.

Bourbon, on the other hand, is made from corn, barley, rye, and wheat. It carries over the flavors from the grains used.

Additionally, bourbon has caramel and toasted oak taste notes, while rum has fruity and toasted spice notes. But what do you mix with bourbon?


Rum is less expensive than bourbon whiskey because it has a lower production cost. The standard price range of rum is $11 – $30, while bourbon costs $16 – $87.

Rum and bourbon aged for a long period are more expensive than those aged for a short time. 

When choosing which alcohol is best used as a mixer, less expensive brands tend to be better choices most of the time.

Alcohol Content

Old Forester

Rum and bourbon are distilled and bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV (80 proof) [1]. Some rum has at least 57.5% ABV, called “overproof.” 

It’s preferable to have strong alcohol as a mixer for the Eggnog cocktail to cut through the sweet flavors of the rest of the ingredients.

Best Brands To Use

For Rum

Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum – It has a complex flavor profile with orange peels, clove, cinnamon, and allspice taste notes. It’s sweet on the palate with a punchy kick of clove. It’s heavy on the spices that go well with Eggnog.

Chairman's Reserve Rum

Traveller’s 1 Barrel Belize Rum – Sweet molasses will greet the nose with cocoa and tobacco notes. It has a smoky flavor, but it’s sweet mid-palate. The sweetness mixes well with Eggnog.

For Bourbon

Evan Williams Black Label Kentucky Straight Bourbon – If you like a strong cocktail using this bourbon as a mixer for Eggnog might be the best choice. It has taste notes of caramel, brown sugar, and oak. It’s smooth and has a full character.

Evan Williams Black Label

Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey – It has a bold and spicy character due to its high rye content. It adds spice and kick to your Eggnog.

Smoothness Level & Quality

Bourbon Eggnog

Both rum and bourbon are made from premium-quality raw ingredients and are aged carefully. Quality bourbon and rum also have distinctive flavors and aromas. 

Bourbon is smooth because it’s a milder spirit with a rich flavor profile. Meanwhile, a quality rum is also smooth, sweet, and smoky.

Taste Test: Eggnog Cocktail Recipe

Eggnog Cocktail

Try this recipe to determine which liquor is better for an Eggnog Cocktail. You can interchangeably use rum and bourbon to add excellent flavors to the creamy and sweet Eggnog cocktail. 

Prep Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 30 mins


  • 4 eggs, separated, room temperature
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 12 ounces of whole milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup bourbon whiskey or rum
  • ¼ cup cognac
  • ¼ cup brandy-based orange liqueur
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (for serving)


In a large bowl, beat the eggs on medium speed until fluffy. Add in a pinch of salt, sugar, allspice, and cinnamon. Blend for one minute. Then, gradually add the bourbon (or rum), orange liqueur, and cognac. 

Stir in the milk and heavy cream, then cover and refrigerate. Divide between punch cups to serve. Add freshly grated nutmeg.

Servings: 8


Should you use top-shelf rum or bourbon brands for Eggnogs?

No, you shouldn’t use top-shelf rum or bourbon brands for eggnogs because you’re only using them as alcohol mixers. Save your top-shelf alcohol brands to enjoy on their own. Check out our favorite alcoholic eggnog brands here

Can you put spiced rum in Eggnog?

Yes, you can put spiced rum in Eggnog. Spiced rum elevates the drink and gives it a boozy kick. 

In Summary

Based on a taste test, our team chose rum as the liquor that works better for Eggnog because its distinctive flavor profile pairs well with the holiday spices present in Eggnog. It makes for a sweet and comforting drink perfect for chilly winter nights. Rum Eggnog might is a great choice if you want a strong kick in your drink.

While your alcohol choice will depend on your preference, rum and bourbon are great mixers for Eggnog. Try our recipe and do your own test taste, too! 



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.

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