A Totally Not-Scary Eggnog Recipe

by Claire Thomas

Eggnog is a bit polarizing. Essentially, it's melted ice cream with some booze, so if you like that sort of thing, you'll love eggnog, and if you don't, you'll hate it with the fire of a thousand suns. I'm in the former camp. I love creamy, rich, dessert-y things with booze, so eggnog wins for me. Plus, its story is the perfect blend of mysterious provenance and American history. In Colonial America, rum, which at this point was far and away our most popular and most produced liquor, was commonly called “grog,” so egg 'n' grog could have easily evolved to eggnog. Other experts insist that the "nog" is short for "noggin," a small, carved wooden mug used to serve drinks in taverns. The grains of time continue to slip away, shrouding the truth in mystery...

The truth is, eggnog is an old English creation, based on a hot drink called posset, which consists of eggs, milk, and ale or wine. It was most popular among the landed gentry, who had plenty of eggs and dairy available. It translated easily to America, where farms and dairy products were plentiful, as was rum. Apparently, even George Washington was a fan, and he devised his own recipe that included rye whiskey, rum, and sherry. When the supply of molasses to America was limited, which was what distillers would convert into rum, as a consequence of the Revolutionary War, Americans turned to domestic whiskey, and eventually bourbon in particular, as a substitute. Who knew sipping on eggnog had anything to do with the triangle trade, 18th-century taxes, and agrarian systems?

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