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History of Eggnog

Information and history about Christmas Eggnog plus Eggnog Recipes

 

Jump to:  History  |  How it got its name  |  Eggnog Recipes

 

 Mark Stout - Fotolia.com

 

Go to:   Main History Index Page  |  History of World Cuisines   |   Origins of Ingredients

 

Today Eggnog is synonymous with Christmas - there's even an Eggnog Day (24th December). However,  some questions beg to be asked as to where this drink originated and how if got its strange name. 

 

 

History of Eggnog

Also known as an Egg Flip, the predecessor of today's eggnog is believed to have started life in England as early as the 8th Century.  Originally a concoction made of milk mixed with alcohol, frequently beer and perhaps some spices, it was known as a posset and was initially taken for medicinal purposes but certainly by the 1550s, they had become a more fashionable drink amongst the upper classes with posset sets being a popular gift.  It's possible that other parts of Europe were drinking possets too as Mary 1 of England was given a posset set from the Spanish Ambassador, though it's possible he just bought it when he arrived in England.

 

By the 17th century, these milk "punches" had been transformed into celebratory beverages, often used to toast the health of friends and family albeit still mainly enjoyed by the more wealthy. One reason given for its popularity was the fact that  there was no refrigeration so milk couldn't be kept for  too long. By this time, alcohols such as Madeira, sherry and Brandy had replaced the original beer mixer, and eggs had been added, making an altogether more smooth rich drink.

 

The Europeans who colonised America took the tradition with them. Although dairy produce was readily available, imported items such as Brandy were very expensive and so they started using rum which was much more affordable.

 

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How Eggnog got its name

No-one knows for sure how the drink got its name. The "egg" bit is simple enough but the "nog" bit is a little more challenging. Taking its origins into account, here are three possibilities:-

 

- Nog was a 17th century English name for a strong beer.

- Noggin  was an old English name for a small wooden cup used to serve alcohol in hostelries.

= Grog was the name 18th century sailors gave to a mixture of Rum and water.

It's probably a mixture of all three.

 

Today forms of eggnog are also made in many other countries including  Germany (Eierlikör), Spain (ponche),   Holland (advocaat) and further afield, Puerto Rico (coquito) and Mexico (Rompope).

 

Eggnog Recipes

 

Chocolate Eggnog recipe   Veg CD PFC 10mins

Extreme Christmas Eggnog recipe

Easy No Alcohol Eggnog recipe Veg CD PFC 5mins

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