If you’re a sweets lover, there’s a good chance you like eggnog. A treat originating in medieval times in Britain and with various local adaptions across the globe, this insanely rich indulgence is meant to signify health and prosperity. And as good as flourless chocolate cake, apple strudel and oven-warm cookies can be, there’s something about the smoothness of pudding-like desserts that makes them the ultimate comfort sweets. And as a custardy cocktail (or mocktail) that’s both food and drink, eggnog is a brew from childhood that stands alone.

But store-bought eggnog, as well as traditional homemade recipes, can contain up to 40 grams of sugar per cup, Instead of going without, we made our own sugar-free, almost zero-carb version and we were thrilled with the results! It was quick, easy and delicious—perfect for the holidays and winter’s gray. It was also just the right quantity for a first run and sample. Our takeaway: it’s all about the nutmeg! While ingesting too much of nutmeg’s essential oils can have psychoactive effects or pose a danger to your health, its anti-inflammatory compounds—taken in eggnog-level doses—may improve mood, blood sugar and heart health. We found that grinding it fresh was the defining flavor that made all the difference.

Another advantage of homemade nog is avoiding processed additives, artificial colors and flavors. (Note: “natural flavors” are derived from natural sources but can also be highly processed with chemicals and unlisted ingredients.)

This is what we came up with to make 2 jumbo or 4 medium/6 small, punch-sized glasses. For a more ‘sugary’ nog, you can double the sweetener. You can also used whipped cream to fold in at the end instead of egg whites, i.e. if you don’t want the raw factor. (While alcohol has been shown to thwart salmonella poisoning in some circumstances and even kill it in contaminated raw eggs after sitting in eggnog for three weeks, it’s not a reliable prevention measure.)

We heated a cup of cream, a cup of sugar-free almond milk and 1/4 cup of sweetener (a mix of erythritol and xylitol) to a near boil, removed it from heat and stirred in three whisked egg yolks (saving the whites), before briefly returning it to low heat for a few minutes of thickening (with constant stirring), adding generous amounts of fresh ground nutmeg, a pinch of fresh vanilla seeds and a dash of whiskey.

We drank an embarrassing amount of this hot, eggy-yellow concoction from the pot (!) but refrigerated the rest an hour and then folded in the leftover egg whites, beaten and fluffy. After chilling it a couple more hours, we stirred the nicely thickened nog and finished it off. A cup of heaven! The texture was milkshake-level creamy and reminiscent of the nogs enjoyed in our sugary past.

We’re now intrigued to experiment with a vegan version, possibly using nut flour or coconut for thickness, because we have a suspicion it’s predominantly the nutmeg, as well as the vanilla bean, were the elements that make this wonderful sweet so distinct.