A Drink Yule Never Forget: The History of Eggnog
From fall to Christmas, you really can't go wrong with a tasty dessert with eggnog. But where did this quirky drink come from?
Either you love it or you hate it. Eggnog is possibly the most divisive of all Christmas desserts -- it even caused a riot once. But those who love it simply can’t get enough about it. Where did this quirky, festive drink come from and what made it stick around? The History of Eggnog has the answers to all your eggnog questions.
The origins on the name “eggnog” are disputed and not well documented, but the drink itself goes back in time much further than the name. Egg-based drinks that were made specifically for the holiday season go back centuries and have a variety of names. In the Netherlands, they drink a version of this eggnog called advocaat, the Dutch word for "lawyer," called so because it is good for the throat and, thus, good for people who need to talk a lot -- like, say, a lawyer. In German, they call it Eierpunsch -- literally “egg punch.”
No matter what you call this drink, if you start craving it around the holidays, you’re not alone. This deliciously unique drink is popular for a reason!
The History of Eggnog
1300s: Around this time, a drink called posset was very popular in Great Britain. It usually consisted of milk that was curdled with wine or some other type of ale. Although it was sometimes eaten as a custard, posset was typically drunk.
Late 1300s: Monks of this time often drank posset with eggs, which is likely where eggnog as we know it today originated. Because the ingredients, like eggs and brandy, were only readily available to the wealthy, this drink was reserved for the rich or for very special occasions.
1700s: When eggnog came to North America in the 1700s, it quickly became popular. It was here that eggnog began to be associated with the holiday season. The North American versions of this drink also added rum.
1826, the Eggnog Riot: At the United States Military Academy at West Point, there was a ban on alcohol. Because of this, all eggnog that year was to be completely alcohol free. Fed up with the policy, a group of about 260 cadets snuck in their own alcohol to the Christmas Day party, turning an otherwise peaceful event into what would be called the Eggnog Riot. Among the rioters were Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee.
1899: In her book, Guide for Nut Cookery, Almeda Lambert wrote the first recorded recipe for eggnog that used no dairy. In its place, the recipe called for coconut cream. This version was similar to the coquito, a Puerto Rican holiday drink that’s similar to eggnog.
1981: The first eggless versions of eggnog were produced, and were given names like “Grain Nog,” “Soy Nog,” and even “Tofu Nog.” While these names might not sound as appetizing, the drinks came about as plant-based diets became more popular.
1982: After the staff of a nursing home in Clarksboro, NJ, made homemade eggnog, many of the residents and workers got salmonellosis. Four people died, but it was likely that the illness spread from some secondary cause instead of the eggnog itself.
Are you pro-eggnog?
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