Eggnog is one of the sweetest Christmas Traditions that tastes great for kids and adults alike.
This creamy drink has been around for over 1000 years but has only been in America since the 1700s when it crossed the ocean to the 13 colonies. So, while Americans love to drink Eggnog, its history dates back to the mother country.
Its history involves the rich and poor, the powerful and common person, and the adult and child.
History of Eggnog
What is a posset?
From the Oxford English Dictionary:
Posset is a drink similar to our modern eggnog. It is made by pouring heated and spiced cream over a warm mixture of eggs, sugar, and alcohol. The result is a rich custard full of calories and fat that can sometimes curdle. This, in part, may explain why the earliest use of the word is a fifteenth-century translation of Latin balducta or bedulta, i.e., “the curds of milk”
Possets would lay the foundation for what became eggnog.
During the Middle Ages, folks would use possets to treat cold-like symptoms. The upper class also drank possets, and these possets were made with Sherry or Brandy rather than beer.
The drink did not have any connection with Christmas. However, it was probably drank during the colder months.
There are three primary theories on how we got the name "nog":
- Nog comes from nug or nudged ale
- Nog came from a strong beer with eggs in it.
- Nog is an English word for a small wooden mug.
It could be any of those, but how it got there is not clear.
The first written use of eggnog is from 1775 when Jonathan Boucher, a clergyman and philologist (someone who studies old texts) from Maryland, wrote a comic poem about the various drinks he had during the day! (But his poem wasn't published until after his death 30 years later.)
"Fog-drams i' th' morn, or (better still) egg-nogg,
At night, hot-suppings, and at mid-day, grogg,
My palate can regale..."In March 1788, a newspaper in New Jersey reported that:
"A young man with a cormerant appetite voraciously devoured, last week, at Connecticut farms, thirty raw eggs, a glass of egg nog, and another of brandy sling."The earliest connection of Christmas and eggnog is from the Virginia Chronicle in 1793:
"On last Christmas Eve, several gentlemen met at Northampton court-house and spent the evening in mirth and festivity, when EGG-NOG was the principal Liquor used by the company. After they had indulged pretty freely in this beverage, a gentleman in company offered a bet that not one of the party could write four verses, extempore, which should be rhyme and sense..."An early eggnog recipe comes from 1799 when the book 'Travels Through the States of North America and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada' (volume 2) described how and inn in Baltimore made eggnog:
"The American travelers, before they pursued their journey, took a hearty draught each, according to custom, of egg-nog, a mixture composed of new milk, eggs, rum, and sugar, beat up together..."Also, in the 1790s, George Washington was the first US President to serve eggnog. His recipe contained rum, whisky, and sherry!
Who would have thought the glass full of Christmas cheer at Christmas Eve parties would have such an interesting history?
As I said before, the drink is popular with children around the Christmas season. However, unless you are a questionable parent, you are not giving your children a cup of eggnog with rum.
Non-alcoholic eggnog began showing up (albeit sparingly) throughout the country, and by 1960, it had become mainstream.
Today, non-alcoholic sales of eggnog are more than alcoholic sales, as folks of all ages and convictions enjoy it.