"When wine and beer, punch and eggnog meet, instantly ensues a quarrel."
~ Philadelphia's Independent Gazetteer, 1788)
This much loved holiday beverage can be very heady! Eggnog was responsible for the “Eggnog Riot” of Christmas Eve, 1826, which took place at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. With drinking out of control at the academy, all alcohol was banned right before Christmas, leading to the thirsty cadets (including future Confederate president Jefferson Davis) smuggling in gallons of their own whiskey and whipping up a potent batch of eggnog. The drunk cadets completely destroyed their barracks, and one even tried to shoot his commanding officer! Twenty cadets and one enlisted soldier were court-martialed for their actions! Merry Christmas and Cheers!
Eggnog, historically also known (when alcoholic) as milk punch or egg milk punch, is a rich, chilled, sweetened, creamy dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture) and distilled spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
These flavour colours are reflected in Carol A.L. Martin's tartan design for a creamy representation.
Eggnog may have developed from posset, a medieval European beverage made with hot milk that was curdled with wine or ale and flavoured with spices. In the Middle Ages, posset was used as a cold and flu remedy and remained a popular remedy throughout the 19th century.
Regional eggnog variations exist in terms of the flavourings for spices and the alcoholic base.
Some 19th century American eggnog recipes called for significant amounts of alcohol: one recipe calls for "three dozen eggs, half a gallon of domestic brandy, and another half-pint of French brandy." The high alcohol content of this type of colonial eggnog inevitably led to problems. In 19th-century Baltimore, it was a custom for young men of the town to go from house to house on New Year’s Day, toasting their hosts in eggnog along the way. The challenge: to finish one’s rounds still standing.
More recent concerns about the use of raw eggs in traditional recipes can be alleviated by heating the eggs slightly before addition.
For a fancy recipe for aged eggnog, using rum, cognac, and bourbon, click the eggnog!