The History of Eggnog

A seasonal favorite, an American classic, a super-market sell-out this time of year…eggnog.


We wait all year round to enjoy this festive glass o’ cheer. It can be purchased premixed or made from scratch, just the way you like. However you enjoy your nog, just enjoy it.


The background and dated base of this staple has gone on for centuries making people jolly all through the ages.


What is it and where did it come from? Read on to expose the history of eggnog.

The history of Eggnog
Photo by: Simply Recipes


What is Eggnog?


Eggnog is a beverage typically made up from a mixture of eggs, cream and spices (can be made with or without alcohol). This drink is traditionally served cold (some places warmed) and enjoyed around the winter holidays.


Seemingly barbaric, who ever thought of enjoying an alcohol mixture of egg-yolk and milk? Uhm. What? Ehhhh…


Despite the initial “eww” thought, the popularity of nog has been around for quite some time as an illness remedy, a celebratory cup and even a holiday classic.


Okay, getting down to the nitty-gritty, where the heck did this noggy sensation begin?


The History of Eggnog


Medieval & Victorian Era Britain (5th– 15thCentury)

The History of Eggnog: Posset Pot
Posset Pot

Known as a drink called posset. Eggnog made its debut as a hot milky, spiced ale-like drink.


Posset’s first known use was for the ill to cure sickness of cold and flu and was highly popular with the aristocracy.


Ingredients such as milk, eggs and sherry were food items in which the wealthy had access to, so posset was known as a prestigious, celebratory cheers-er in the name of health and prosperity!


Posset was served in a two-handled pot, and as time progressed and the fascination took hold, silver pots were made just to pour posset from. How fancy, huh?



18thCentury America

American Farmers: The History of Eggnog
“Gift for the Grangers” [Detail], c1873. From the Library of Congress.
This milky beverage jumped the pond to America. At this time, American colonies were flooded with farms which meant eggs and cream a-plenty.


Brandy and wine were heavily taxed at this time and rum as an alcoholic spirit additive was a more inexpensive and available option, so in went the rum!


This time frame also coined the name “eggnog”. The exact etymology of the word isn’t completely agreed upon with historians but it was thought that “nog” comes from the word “noggin” (meaning wooden cup) or “grog” which means (strong beer). The name egg-n-grog lasted for some time then ultimately the name eggnog stuck.


Eggnog Around the World


What fun it is to see how different countries share a place on their pallet for the eggnog similarity. While each country has their own take and recipe spin off, here are a few places around the globe with their version of a true classic.


Coquito – Puerto Rican Eggnog (made with coconut cream rather than milk/cream)

Rompope – Mexican Eggnog

Advocaat – Dutch Eggnog (made with the addition of Cognac)

Crème de Vie – Cuban Eggnog

Eierlikor– German Eggnog (adds vodka and brandy rather than rum)

Ponche Crema– Venezuela


However you choose to compose your delightful holiday nog this season, you now know the background of this truly classic cocktail and the history of eggnog.

Written By: Michelle Fecteau

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