Nog Your Average Holiday Drink
Love it or hate it – 'tis the season for eggnog.
How Americans named the simple (yet odd) concoction of milk, eggs, and booze – and why you should be drinking it in a wooden mug.
- In medieval times, “posset” was made of hot milk and eggs, which only the wealthy could afford. Brandy or sherry kept it from spoiling.
- By the time it was enjoyed in America in the 18th century, milk and eggs were common. Colonists used rum instead of other heavily-taxed liquors.
- Cold, nonalcoholic eggnog gained popularity in the United States in the 1960s.
"Colonists referred to rum as grog; bartenders served rum in small wooden carved mugs called noggins. Thus the drink eventually became egg-n-grog and over time eggnog."
Dr. Fred Opie, food historian and Babson college professor. By the time the name “eggnog” gained popularity around 1800, the recipe was commonly made with milk, eggs, rum, and sugar.
Why a holiday drink?
- While the ingredients for eggnog are available year-round, it is usually enjoyed October-December.
- Eggnog likely became associated with the holidays since it used to be served hot (sometimes still is!) and often includes holiday flavors such as nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla bean.
Eggnog Fun Facts
- George Washington loved eggnog. His recipe had a twist and was served with 3 different types of liquor: rye whiskey, rum, and sherry (recipe on our source page).
- West Point cadets rioted in 1826 when commanders threatened to disallow their spiked eggnog.
- Eggnog varies around the world – such as Ecuador’s “Ponche de Leche” or Scotland’s “Auld Man’s Milk.”
If eggnog has raw eggs in it, why is it safe to drink? Store-bought eggnog is pasteurized (heat-treated to kill bacteria). If you make it at home, the FDA advises heating it because alcohol alone won’t make it safe… unless it’s like… George Washington strong.
- The Long, Rich, Boozy History of Eggnog: Smithsonian Institute
- Way More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Eggnog:
- FoodSafety.gov on homemade eggnog:
- Eggnog versions from around the world: The Daily Meal
- President George Washington’s eggnog recipe: (consume wisely!)
by Jenna Lee,