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, 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.
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.