Saturday, January 19, 2019

The 411 on Eggnog

by BusinessLife (writer), The Carolinas, December 06, 2010

Credit: Gareth Morgans
The history of eggnog and a bit of Chevy Chase too!
watch the video

Christmas, Chevy Chase & Eggnog. What's not to like?

During the "happiest time of the year," here is the history on eggnog, some recipes to try out and a bit of Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation...(because it has a small clip of eggnog being consumed and it's extremely funny but adult only appropriate). What's not to like?

Eggnog, along with fruitcake is more than likely a love or hate holiday item. After all, it is only available one time a year and hasn't caught on as a 'must have' beverage. So, where did eggnog get its start? Here are a few ideas.

Many believe that eggnog is a tradition that was brought to America from Europe. This is partially true. Eggnog is related to various milk and wine punches that had been concocted long ago in the "Old World".

However, in America a new twist was put on the theme. Rum was used in the place of wine. In Colonial America, rum was commonly called "grog", so the name eggnog is likely derived from the very descriptive term for this drink, "egg-and-grog", which corrupted to egg'n'grog and soon to eggnog.

Other experts say the "nog" part of eggnog comes from the word "noggin". A noggin was a small, wooden, carved mug. It was used to serve drinks at table in taverns.

It is thought that eggnog started out as a mixture of Spanish "Sherry" and milk. The English called this concoction "Dry sack posset". It is very easy to see how an egg drink in a noggin could become eggnog.

The true story might be a mixture of the two and eggnog was originally called "egg and grog in a noggin". Although a cute phrase, someone had to come up with a shorter version.

With it's European roots and the availability of the ingredients, eggnog soon became a popular wintertime drink throughout Colonial America. There was much on its side to serve it to friends, family and several times to one's self. It was rich, spicy, and alcoholic.

In the 1820's Pierce Egan, a period author, wrote a book called "Life of London: or Days and Nights of Jerry Hawthorne and His Elegant Friend Corinthina Tom." To publicize his work Mr. Egan made up a variation of eggnog he called "Tom and Jerry."

It added 1/2 ounce of brandy to the basic recipe. The more brandy added to the same mixture caused eggnog to draw a large following.

Speaking of serving size, in the 1800s, eggnog was nearly always made in large quantities and nearly always used as a social drink.

It was commonly served at holiday parties and it was noted by an English visitor in 1866, "Christmas is not properly observed unless you brew egg nogg for all comers; everybody calls on everybody else; and each call is celebrated by a solemn egg-nogging...It is made cold and is drunk cold and is to be commended."

Of course, Christmas was not the only day upon which eggnog was popular. In Baltimore it was a tradition for young men to call upon all of their friends on New years day.

At each of many homes the strapping fellows were offered a cup of eggnog, and so as they went they became more and more inebriated. It was quite a feat to actually finish one's rounds.

Our first President, George Washington, was quite a fan of eggnog and devised his own recipe that included rye whiskey, rum and sherry. It was reputed to be a stiff drink that only the most courageous were willing to try.

Eggnog Health Watch

It's estimated that there's a 1 in 10,000 chance that the eggs in your nog could contain a harmful bacteria. To avoid the possibility of food poisoning the Center for Science in the Public Interest recommends that you slowly heat the eggs to 160 F before using. Another way to tell if the eggs are ready is if they coat a metal spoon.

The eggnog you can find in your local grocery stores is normally pasteurized, which means that harmful bacteria have already been eliminated through a heating process. It generally is also non-alcoholic.

For a bunch of eggnog recipes to choose from, visit Eggnog Recipes.

For your video selection, you have:

Kitty drinking eggnog with her paw

Goofball but simple eggnog recipe by video

And for grown up giggles:

Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase (not kid friendly)

About the Writer

BusinessLife is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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2 comments on The 411 on Eggnog

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By Frank - icare2be on December 07, 2010 at 10:56 am

Today, I use 1/2 ounce of Seagrams Mist blended bourbon in place of brandy with my eggnog. Thank you for a wonderful review of the history of eggnog.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

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By BusinessLife on December 07, 2010 at 11:23 am

icare2be-Frank: Thanks for the eggnog recipe. We always had this during the holidays in D.C. at all of the social occasions that would take place at home. I would walk around in my newest dress with appetizers and such. I loved eggnog a lot sans alcohol. Every once in a while, I might buy a small pint or something to remind me of some yummy, snowy times growing up. :)

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