Eggnog has a rather rich history

  • Eggnog can trace its roots back as far as the 14th century, when medieval Englishmen enjoyed a hot cocktail known as posset. Posset did not contain eggs — the Oxford English Dictionary describes it as “a drink made of hot milk curdled with ale, wine, or the like, often sweetened and spiced’ – The first “eggnog” was likely a mixture of Spanish “Sherry” and milk.
  • In Britain, the drink was popular mainly among the aristocracy; dairy products and eggs were rarely consumed by the lower classes due to their high cost and the lack of refrigeration.
  • As a rich, spicy, and alcoholic drink, eggnog soon became a popular wintertime drink throughout Colonial America. However, since brandy and wine were heavily taxed, rum from the Caribbean was substitute – and Americans came to know the drink strictly as a rum mixture.
  • When the supply of rum to the newly-founded United States was reduced as a consequence of the American Revolutionary War, Americans turned to domestic whiskey, and eventually boubon, as a substitute.
  • In Colonial America, rum was commonly called “grog”, so the name eggnog is likely derived from the very descriptive term for this drink, “egg-and-grog”, which corrupted to egg’n’grog and soon to eggnog.
  • An alternative theory on the origin of the name eggnog is that the “nog” of eggnog comes from the word “noggin”. A noggin was a small, wooden, carved mug. It was used to serve drinks at table in taverns. Hence, an egg drink in a noggin could become eggnog.
  • Eggnog, in the 1800s was nearly always made in large quantities and nearly always used as a social drink. It was commonly served at holiday parties and it was noted by an English visitor in 1866, “Christmas is not properly observed unless you brew egg nogg for all comers; everybody calls on everybody else; and each call is celebrated by a solemn egg-nogging…It is made cold and is drunk cold and is to be commended.”
  • In the 1820’s author Pierce Egan wrote a book called “Life of London: or Days and Nights of Jerry Hawthorne and His Elegant Friend Corinthina Tom”. To publicize his work Mr. Egan made up a variation of eggnog he called “Tom and Jerry”. It added 1/2 oz of brandy to the basic recipe (fortifying it considerably and adding further to its popularity).
  • The United States first President George Washington was quite a fan of eggnog and devised his own recipe that included rye whiskey, rum and sherry. It was reputed to be a stiff drink that only the most courageous were willing to try.
  • An 1879 collection of recipes from Virginia housewives features a recipe that calls for 12 eggs, eight wine-glassfuls of brandy, and four wine-glassfuls of wine. Another recipe calls for three dozen eggs, half a gallon of domestic brandy, and another half-pint of French brandy.
  • It’s hard to top the devotion shared by a Virginia father and son in the late 19th century. In 1900, Good Housekeeping ran a story about the Christmas-morning eggnog traditions of Virginia, and it included this anecdote:  “So religiously is this custom of the eggnog drinking observed that Judge Garnett of Mathews County tells a story of rushing in on Christmas morning to warn his father that the house was on fire. The old gentleman first led his son to the breakfast table and ladled out his glass of eggnog, drank one with him, then went to care for the burning building.”
  • Today, if you pick up a carton of commercial eggnog at the supermarket, you’re probably getting much more nog than egg. FDA regulations only require that 1.0 percent of a product’s final weight be made up of egg yolk solids for it to bear the eggnog name. For “eggnog flavored milk,” the bar is even lower; in addition to requiring less butterfat in the recipe, this label only requires 0.5 percent egg yolk solids in the carton.
  • A relatively small four-ounce cup of store-bought eggnog boasts a whopping 170 calories (half of them from fat), nearly 10 grams of fat, and over 70 mg of cholesterol. (If you’re keeping score at home, that’s around a quarter of your recommended daily intake of cholesterol.)
  • Our own By George Journal’s recipe for traditional egg-and-cream eggnog is here:  EGGNOG 

 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

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