The fascinating history of eggnog

Eggnog is one of those love it or hate it drinks: either you are clamoring over the pitcher at a party or you take a wide berth around it. The rich, thick, and sometimes boozy holiday beverage has a long and interesting history – one that includes a role in a riot at the US military academy West Point.

While it’s impossible to pinpoint exactly when eggnog hit the scene, the precursors to the drink likely date back to medieval England. When it arrived in the US, it was considered more medicinal than recreational (think protein shake), and it was touted as a remedy for influenza.

George Washington had a boozy recipe for eggnog that included rye whiskey, rum, and sherry in addition to the eggs, sugar, and dairy that constitute the major components of the beverage. Favored among the military set, eggnog featured prominently in a wild evening at West Point Academy that ended with a professor being knocked out and several cadets being reprimanded for their drunken behavior.

If you are a fan of eggnog, you can find many recipes for both boozy and alcohol free versions in the EYB Library.

Photo of How to make eggnog from Food52

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  • Jenny  on  December 24, 2019

    I love baking with eggnog – but have never had the chutzpah to take an outright drink. Perhaps one day.

  • MarciK  on  December 24, 2019

    I have eggnog recipes in some of my older cookbooks using raw egg. Although I willingly eat raw cookie dough, it makes me nervous drinking it with the raw egg. The more modern recipes involve heating the eggs to a safe temperature first.

  • Indio32  on  December 25, 2019

    Kinda shows how times and food production methods have changed. I think most people would have issues consuming raw egg produced on a modern day factory farm.

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