Egg Nog. Why?

December 22, 2008

We’re doing a holiday party for the social media crowd tonight in Cambridge. Learn more here. But before you get all excited to come to our Nog-up, you’d best find out why there’s such excitement about Nog.

I saved you a number of mouse clicks by aggregating that information right here, right now. I’ll give you snippets from a bunch of sources and provide the link to the original pieces so you can read more if your interest is so piqued.

Let’s get started…

From Christmas Lore, I read that:

Drinking eggnog at Christmas is believed to go back as far as the early 1600s. Eggnog actually was a beverage that was common to the upper class in England during the 1800s. Eggnog is actually a “descendant” of a British drink called posset which contained eggs and milk but also ale. The word eggnog has an interesting etymology. It is believed that the “nog” in the word eggnog refers to a noggin, which was a wooden mug that was used to serve drinks in taverns.

From, I read that:

Also known as an Egg Flip, the predecessor of today’s eggnog is believed to have started life in England as early as the 8th Century.  Originally a concoction made of milk mixed with alcohol, frequently beer and perhaps some spices, it was known as a posset and was initially taken for medicinal purposes but certainly by the 1550s, they had become a more fashionable drink amongst the upper classes with posset sets being a popular gift.  It’s possible that other parts of Europe were drinking possets too as Mary 1 of England was given a posset set from the Spanish Ambassador, though it’s possible he just bought it when he arrived in England.


No-one knows for sure how the drink got its name. The “egg” bit is simple enough but the “nog” bit is a little more challenging. Taking its origins into account, here are three possibilities:-

– Nog was a 17th century English name for a strong beer.

– Noggin  was an old English name for a small wooden cup used to serve alcohol in hostelries.

= Grog was the name 18th century sailors gave to a mixture of Rum and water.

It’s probably a mixture of all three.

From Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Eugene, Oregon:

This is the recipe I devised. It can be made in just about any home or bar, since the ingredients are fairly simple. It can be done entirely in a blender, so there are no whisks or beaters or rubber spatulas or stovetops needed. It yields two healthy servings, so you can easily multiply it to serve more. It doesn’t use a ton of heavy cream, so it’s fairly light. In other words, it’s practically perfect.

2 large eggs
3 oz (by volume) granulated sugar
½ tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
2 oz brandy
2 oz spiced rum (I use Sailor Jerry’s)
6 oz whole milk
4 oz heavy cream

Beat eggs in blender for one minute on medium speed. Slowly add sugar and blend for one additional minute. With blender still running, add nutmeg, brandy, rum, milk and cream until combined. Chill thoroughly to allow flavors to combine and serve in chilled wine glasses or champagne coupes, grating additional nutmeg on top immediately before serving.

One caveat from Morgenthaler’s recipe – be sure to use a blender that won’t heat up your nog lest you end up with scrambled eggs in your nog. Just warning you.

Now you’re pretty well set for your Nog history and your Nog recipe. Have at it!

Share your favorite techniques here in the comments. Or share why you hate this vile stuff.

More to come…