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I am following Alton Brown's Eggnog Recipie (following the procedure for cooked eggnog).

Currently the bowl has Egg Yolk, Sugar, (non-pasturized) Milk & Cream, Bourbon, & cinnamon, allspice.

I am now about to chill the eggnog before adding whipped egg whites, and then it will be ready to serve.

What kind of difference in the finished product could arise by varying this initial chill time? I could wait anywhere from 1 hour to 1 day before adding the egg whites.

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The real issue, I think, is that you want to add the egg whites immediately before service, as they will begin deflating once they are whipped and mixed in.

So instead of holding the mix a certain period of time, instead you hold the mix until prior to service, and then fold in the whites, which should be freshly whipped.

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Letting it sit longer before serving could change the flavor slightly, as the nutmeg and alcohol would have longer to do their thing. It might mellow out the bourbon a bit and extract a bit more flavor from the nutmeg, but the changes shouldn't be drastic.

Other than that, I agree with SAJ14SAJ. The waiting time isn't really to let the mix rest, it's to be sure that the egg whites are freshly beaten when you serve the drink.

An update! Serious Eats aged some eggnog for a whole freaking year! The rundown is that it does let some flavors mellow, but some continue to extract.

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