Eggnog is more than just a frothy mix of eggs, cream, sugar, nutmeg and booze. It’s a holiday cocktail with staying power and history. Here, seven facts you probably never knew about eggnog. 

December 09, 2014

Eggnog is more than just a frothy mix of eggs, cream, sugar, nutmeg and booze. It’s a holiday cocktail with staying power and history. Here, seven facts you probably never knew about eggnog:

1. It’s been around since the 16th century.
Eggnog’s origins can be traced back to sack posset, an Elizabethan-era drink made with spices, milk, eggs and fortified wine like Madeira. It was served thick, hot and somewhat chunky (the milk was curdled by the hot spiced wine).

2. It’s named after a mug.
The word nog comes from noggin, which is a small wooden mug typically used to drink ale.

3. It caused a riot.
Christmas 1826 at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY, was not a peaceful one. It started with a party, fueled by eggnog spiked with whiskey that cadets smuggled into the academy. It ended with broken windows, gunshots, one knocked-out lieutenant and lots of damaged property. Twenty cadets were court-martialed, and the event was thereafter known as the Eggnog Riot. Bonus fact: Jefferson Davis, the future president of the Confederate States, was among the rioters.

4. It can also be called a Hell’s Angel.
In the 1932 book Cold Comfort Farm, the protagonist whips up a Hell’s Angel: 1 egg, 2 ounces of brandy, 1 teaspoon of cream and some ice in a jam jar, shaken. Sounds a lot like eggnog to us.

5. George Washington served it.
According to kitchen records from Mount Vernon, President George Washington used to serve an ultra-boozy eggnog to guests. His version included whiskey, rye, rum and sherry.

6. It cures sore throats.
At least, an old Russian/Yiddish version of the drink purportedly does. Kogel mogel is made with egg yolks, sugar and rum. It’s served hot and traditionally used as a home remedy for sore throats. Think of it as a thick, creamy hot toddy.

7. The Eggnog Latte has been around since 1986.
Starbucks’s Eggnog Latte didn’t actually start at Starbucks. It was first made in 1986 at Il Giornale, a small Seattle coffee chain owned by Howard Schultz. He bought Starbucks in 1987, rebranded his stores and kept the Eggnog Latte tradition.

Related: 12 Delicious Holiday Drinks
Star Chefs' Favorite Holiday Cocktails
14 Warming Drinks
Best Christmas Desserts
December Cocktail Calendar

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