7 Things You Didn't Know About Eggnog

December 11, 2015

Ah, eggnog, the glorious milk and egg holiday drink, that encourages you to lace it with distilled spirits of your choice. And how could such a rich and creamy concoction be dangerous? Eggnog is the quintessential, waist-unfriendly drink of holiday celebrations, a beverage people either love or love to hate.

Here are seven facts you should know about this seemingly innocuous holiday drink.

1. Eggnog Was Once Only A Drink For Wealthy Aristocrats

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Oh, you fancy, huh? Photo: @woolcofoods / Instagram

In the 14th century England, only the well off could afford eggnog, as milk and eggs were both scarce and expensive, as was the sherry used to spike the mixture.

However, that changed in the American Colonies where they had easier access to dairy products and liquor. Many Americans had their own chickens and dairy cattle so tossing together a glass of eggnog was an easy feat, making its popularity soar.

2. The Word Eggnog Has Many Origins

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Eggnog out of a noggin. Photo: @iregier / Instagram

Many etymologists believe the name stems from the word “noggin” which referred to small wooden mugs that were often used to serve eggnog.

Others posit a similar story but explain that “nog” comes from the slang term to refer to strong ales they also served in those cups.

3. Washington Enjoyed Getting Sloshed On Eggnog

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“Sir I promise there’s more eggnog inside” is what they were probably discussing. Photo: @djtonyrose / Instagram

When toasting your glass of eggnog these holidays, charge a glass to George Washington. Kitchen records from Mount Vernon indicate the first president served an eggnog-like drink to visitors. And since the general was a wealthy man, he didn’t’ skimp on the booze. Washington’s potent recipe included three different types of liquor – rye whiskey, rum, and sherry.

4. The FDA Limits The Amount Of Egg In Store-Bought Eggnog To 1%

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No limit on the alcohol percentage, though! Photo: @sharyner1981 / Instagram

If you pick up a carton of eggnog with your groceries, you may be getting more “nog” than yolk. Due to our fear of raw egg, U.S. FDA regulations limit egg yolk solids to no more than 1.0% of a products’ final weight to bear the eggnog name, while your typical homemade version has roughly one egg per serving

5. Eggnog Was Responsible For A Riot At West Point

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Because West Point kids know how to party. Photo: @sincerelyy_sydney / Instagram

In 1826, the Superintendent of West Point, Colonel Sylvanus Thayer set strict rules forbidding purchasing, storing, or consuming alcohol. However, several cadets took Thayer’s regulations as a challenge and celebrated the Christmas festivities with alcohol-laden eggnog.

A riot ensued, two officers got assaulted, and the North Barracks vandalized. Ultimately, 19 cadets and one soldier were court-martialed for their involvement in the riot, resulting in eleven dismissals from West Point.

6. There Is No “Right” or “Wrong” Alcohol With Eggnog

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There is a “right” way to “get weird,” though. Photo: @mcope05 / Instagram

With no hard and fast rules, eggnog can be made with any number of different distilled spirits, or none at all, known as “virgin eggnog”.

Rum, sherry, Cognac, and whiskey are all suitable for eggnog. Some suggest that it should be a mix of two dark distilled spirits to balance out the sweet treacle flavor of eggnog, but it’s best to try them out and see what works best for you.

7. Vegan Eggnog Exists, And It’s Spectacular

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It’s like drinking melted (non-dairy) ice cream! Photo: @thestreetlights / Instagram

While not technically using any eggs or milk, vegan “eggnog” can be made using a variety of products and is ideal for not only vegans but also those with lactose or dairy intolerances.

“Milk” is used, in the form of soy, almond, coconut, or cashew and traditional eggnog flavors and spices remain such as vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. And of course making either alcoholic or virgin vegan eggnog is your choice, depending on how bearable your relatives are!

Happy Holidays!