Eggnog: Where does it come from?

I’ve long been a fan of spiced ‘nog. It’s one of the creamiest, best tastes in the world. For over 300 years, eggnog has been a Christmas staple, and I just had to get to the bottom of the mystery of ‘why’? What I discovered in my research of the origin of eggnog was quite startling. While ‘nog definitely came from Europe circa early 17th century, the term “eggnog” and the etymology of the word is perhaps the more interesting story.

The original eggnog was a mixture of milk, egg, spices, and wine (in parts of Europe like France), beer (in England), or sherry (in Spain). The alcoholic portion of the drink depends on how you interpret the “nog” in the name. That is because “nog” could mean the Old English term for a strong beer, or it could be interpreted from Middle English as “noggin,” the wooden mug that the drink was served in.
It seems quite unusual (and kind of unappetizing) to me that, before it arrived on America’s shores, eggnog was made with wine, beer, or sherry. Americans — the drunks that we are — decided to spike the drink with more concentrated spirits such as rum and brandy. Our first President, George Washington, would make the drink so strong that only the burliest of drinkers could handle it. The term for rum is actually “grog,” but “eggrog” doesn’t sound very good at all, now, does it? (It makes me think of a lumpy, spiked oatmeal — yuck!) Americans also boil their eggnog so as to avoid getting salmonella from the raw egg.

Even more variations of traditional eggnog are popping up around the globe. In Louisiana, they replace the rum with bourbon. In Puerto Rico, they add coconut milk. In Mexico, it’s a hard drink, as it’s mixed with grain alcohol. In Peru, it’s made with “pisco,” a local brandy.

Whatever the form or unique flavor, drinking eggnog is a Christmas tradition because of its warming effect and generally sweet, smooth, and spicy taste which make it a perfect holiday drink.

[Information was gathered from Wikipedia,, and]

Out of the country? Try the Havana Club

One of the best parts about travel is testing out the gastronomic culture. Eating pan seared duck at Comptoir De La Gastronomie in Paris, horse sashimi in back alleys of Tokyo or terrible borscht on the streets of St. Petersburg is a great way to get in touch with a culture and society by way of your stomach instead of normal visual saturation.

Similarly drinking the popular destination beverage can bring the same experience. Caparinhia’s, a sweet lime cocktail are very popular in Brazil and can be made at home by tracking down some cashaca. Thousands of varieties of sake are available in Japan and many can be found at your local liquor store.

What’s most fun about being out of the country, however, is enjoying the forbidden beverages — those that can’t even be consumed in the United States.

Which brings us to the Cuba Libre with Havana Club rum. Though the Cuba Libre is quite similar to a standard “rum and coke” and can be made with any rum, the real flavor and purpose of the beverage is best brought out when consumed with Havana Club, a Cuban rum illegal to import into the States. Downing a Cuba Libre gives you that touch of rebellion and that flavor of foreign places that few other drinks can, which is why I often order it when I’m out of the country.

Next time you’re outside of our borders, give it a try. Both Canadian and Mexican bars are usually stocked with Havana Club rum and you’ll definitely taste a difference between that and Americanized liquors. Maybe someday (soon?) when the trade embargo falls we’ll be able to enjoy a little bit of Cuba Libre at home.