Hold’n my noggin…my egg nog(gin)

Proving eggnog's ancient origins indeed.

Proving eggnog's ancient origins indeed.

With or without the booze, eggnog, creamy and whipped is a must-have holiday calorie laden libation. The combination of eggs, milk, sugar, cream, cinnamon and nutmeg together with a boozy accent of choice (rum, brandy, wine) makes for memorable and cozy cold weather celebrations. How did we start imbibing this festive treat and better yet, who came up with this idea?

Like any infamous character, eggnog’s history is a bit of a mystery; there are several stories surrounding its creamy cradle. Both the recipe’s origin as well as the entomology of the actual name “eggnog” have much lore.

One story has eggnog emerging as the holiday beverage of choice for the privileged in 19th century England-at the time refrigeration was nonexistent-in the winter months only those with access to fresh milk and eggs could whip up this luxurious treat. As America was colonized, the Pilgrims enjoyed indulging in this treat as the ingredients were readily available. Tax adverse as the Pilgrams were however, they rarely used brandy or wine in eggnog as those were heavily taxed-early American settlers preferred rum which came from the south sans tariff.

As to the root of this anomalously named nip, there are are several stories there as well. “Nog” is an old English word referring to a strong beer; one could imagine this is the origin of the aforementioned. Others say that the name is from the nickname of rum: “grog”, thus eggnog is a shortened derivation of the word which refers to the popular addition. Yet another anecdote claims that the name refers to a “noggin” which was a carved wooden mug served in taverns. These versions could perhaps meld together and the name could indeed be amalgamation of all of the stories.

Whatever its origins, what matters most is that eggnog finds its way to your own gigantic goblet this year.

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About Tara DeWitt Coomans

An aspiring cook and an accomplished eater, Tara is inspired by the world around her and the food on her plate. "When you can't jump on a plane and take a vacation to an exotic destination, chances are you can whip up a dish or go to a restaurant that will take you there." says Tara. She often eats out at a restaurant after trying to accomplish a given dish at home. None the less, she enjoys food and what it says about the human experience. Tara is a full-time freelance writer and blogger. She specializes in writing about food, cooking and travel. You can find her in the kitchen, on the plane or at her computer.