It is time to celebrate one of the most famous holiday drinks of all—eggnog!
That is because it is National Eggnog Day, observed every year on December 24th.
A drink that people either love or hate, eggnog is nonetheless indelibly linked with the holiday season.
Let’s find out more about this beverage with the funny name.
What Is in Eggnog?
Traditionally consumed during the holiday season, eggnog is known as a milk (or egg-milk) punch.
A rich, chilled, sweet beverage made of milk, cream, sugar and whipped eggs, eggnog is often mixed with liquor (brandy, rum, whiskey, bourbon, or vodka) and garnished with cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin spice.
Importantly, eggnog can also be made with cashew, soy, almond, rice, or coconut milk.
The history of non-dairy eggnog goes back to 1899 when Almeda Lambert shared a recipe using coconut cream.
Fast forward almost a 100 years later to 1981 when Grain Country of Los Angeles introduced Grain Nog, a non-dairy, egg-free, vegan eggnog based on amazake, a Japanese fermented rice beverage.
In a bit, I will share my favorite plant-based eggnog recipe but let’s first find out about this festive drink’s history.
Where Does Eggnog Come From?
Even though eggnog is considered an American beverage, the English have been drinking it for several hundred years, and early colonists brought it to America.
Culinary historians believe that eggnog came from an early medieval British drink called posset, which was made with hot milk and wine (or ale) and flavored with spices.
During the Middle Ages, posset was used as a cold and flu remedy.
Posset was particularly popular with the aristocracy who would serve it in expensive two-handed silver pots.
When eggnog first came to America in the 18th century, brandy and wine were heavily taxed, so rum was used to spike the eggnog instead. When the supply of rum plummeted during the American Revolutionary War, eggnog was drunk with either domestic whiskey or bourbon.
George Washington even served an eggnog-like drink to his guests who came to Mount Vernon.
By the 19th century, eggnog was linked to the holiday season—a tradition that continues to this day.
Where Does the Funny Name Come From?
There is some dispute where the name ‘eggnog’ originated.
The first known use of ‘nog’ was in 1693. It may have come from the word ‘noggin,’ a Middle English term for a small wooden mug used to serve alcohol.
However, ‘nog’ was also used to describe a strong beer brewed in the Norfolk region of England.
Others believe that it came from the Scottish term ‘nugg’ or ‘nugged ale’ which means ‘ale warmed with a hot poker.’
The word ‘eggnog’ was introduced in 1775 in a poem written by Jonathan Boucher:
“Fog-drams in the morn,
or better still egg-nogg.
At night hot-suppings,
and at mid-day, grogg.
My palate can regale.”
Around the world, eggnog has different names.
In Puerto Rico, it is called coquito and is made with rum and fresh coconut juice or milk.
In Mexico, it is known as rompope and uses Mexican cinnamon and rum.
In Peru, eggnog is referred to as ‘biblia con pisco’ and is made with a Peruvian brandy called pisco.
In Germany, it is called biersuppe and is made with beer.
How to Celebrate National Eggnog Day
Of course, the absolute best way to celebrate National Eggnog Day is to whip up a batch using plant-based ingredients and enjoy it by the fireplace surrounded by family and friends.
Here is my favorite recipe for Eggless Nog!
Enjoy your National Eggnog Day the plant-based way!