What is Eggnog?

Deborah Ng

Eggnog is a libation traditionally served during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. It is made from cream or milk, egg yolks and sugar. Those who imbibe may choose to add brandy or rum to their beverage. Those who drink this beverage are customarily supposed to drink to each other's health, though after a few glasses of spiked eggnog, most will drink to anything.

Eggnog is a popular holiday drink.
Eggnog is a popular holiday drink.

Eggnog, which translates to "egg inside a cup", actually has a bit of history behind it. It was derived from an English drink called posset. The posset contained eggs, cream and wine or other spirits. It was only a matter of time before it took on a life of its own.

Eggnog is made from milk, egg yolks, and sugar.
Eggnog is made from milk, egg yolks, and sugar.

This drink became popular in the early 19th century and was mostly enjoyed by the upper classes. During that time in London, only those who were well-to-do could afford to drink a glass of milk, let alone serve it at parties. Revelers enjoyed mixing it with a little alcohol to give it an extra "kick."

In the United States, eggnog was mostly enjoyed by those who owned milk cows. At the time, there were quite a few American dairy farmers, so it was enjoyed by people of all backgrounds. Since rum was relatively inexpensive and very easy to come by, it was often mixed into the drink.

No one is quite sure how eggnog became the beverage of choice for holiday revelers, but it has been noted that even two hundred years ago, hosts of holiday parties would make up large batches of the concoction for their guests to enjoy throughout the evening. It is said that George Washington himself enjoyed eggnog on many occasions. His preference was to drink it with rum, rye whiskey and sherry. When he was drinking eggnog there were very few people who could keep up with him —- or who would even try.

Nowadays most people don't make up their own eggnog. They purchase a carton or a case at their local supermarket or liquor store and spike it once their guests have arrived. It's a convenient, delicious way to toast to good health and good friends.

President George Washington enjoyed eggnog on many occasions.
President George Washington enjoyed eggnog on many occasions.

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Discussion Comments


@anon232180: Can you tell me how many people have tried this recipe and what they thought of it? Thanks.


Keep it simple and easy. For a half pint, use 2 yolks in the jug, add two teaspoons of sugar, a shot of rum or a shot of malt whiskey, mix well together and then add warm milk and stir in, making sure the sugar dissolves. If you want, add a dash of nutmeg. Enjoy.


No, they don't always include any part of the egg, and I've never seen them include both the white and the yolk. I don't think they even use milk normally, but instead water as the main ingredient and some milk ingredients or modified milk ingredients.


@dinoleash: Here is a non-alcoholic recipe for homemade eggnog:

12 eggs, 1 ½ cups sugar, 1 quart cream, vanilla extract (to taste), and a dash of nutmeg.

Separate the eggs at room temperature. Beat the yolks in with half of the sugar until creamy. Beat the egg whites with the other half of the sugar until stiff. Fold it all together. Add vanilla to taste. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


@dinoleash: This is a delicious recipe for eggnog that I found on the Internet. I have tried several different ones but this is my favorite. This recipe contains alcohol. You need the following ingredients:

4 cups milk, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, 5 whole cloves, 1 ½ cups sugar, 5 whole cloves, 12 egg yolks, 2 ½ cups light rum, 4 cups light cream, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, ½ tsp. ground nutmeg.

In a saucepan, combine the milk, cloves, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Heat for about 5 minutes on low heat. Slowly, bring the mixture to a boil.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and egg yolks. Whisk the mixture until it is fluffy. Whisk the hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour the mixture into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat. Stir constantly for about three minutes or until thick. Don’t let it boil. Strain the mixture to remove the cloves. Let it cool for about an hour.

Stir in the rum, cream, 2 tsp. vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight.


Does anyone have a good homemade eggnog recipe?


does the commercially prepared eggnog that you can buy at the grocery store contain pasteurized eggs? do they even use real eggs anymore in them?

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