From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Eggnog (disambiguation).
Eggnog with cinnamon

Eggnog, or egg nog (About this sound pronunciation ), is a sweetened dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture). Spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon are often added. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.

It was also known as the egg milk punch.[1][2]

Eggnog is traditionally consumed throughout Canada and the United States around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Eggnog may be added as a flavoring to food or drinks such as coffee and tea. Eggnog as a custard can also be used as an ice cream base.


A carton and a glass of eggnog from Montreal, Canada, showing its French facade (English reverse) and the French term lait de poule (literally, "hen's milk")

The origins, etymology, and the ingredients used to make the original eggnog drink are debated. Eggnog may have originated in East Anglia, England; or it may have simply developed from posset, a medieval European beverage made with hot milk.[3] The "nog" part of its name may stem from the word noggin, a Middle English term for a small, carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol.[3] However, the British drink was also called an Egg Flip, from the practice of "flipping" (rapidly pouring) the mixture between two pitchers to mix it.

One very early example: Isaac Weld, Junior, in his book Travels Through the States of North America and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, during the years 1795, 1796, and 1797 (published in 1800) wrote: "The American travellers, before they pursued their journey, took a hearty draught each, according to custom, of egg-nog, a mixture composed of new milk, eggs, rum, and sugar, beat up together;..."

In Britain, the drink was popular mainly among the aristocracy.[3] Those who could get milk and eggs mixed it with brandy, Madeira or sherry to make a drink similar to modern alcoholic egg nog.[3] The drink is described in Cold Comfort Farm (chapter 21) as a Hell's Angel, made with an egg, two ounces of brandy, a teaspoonful of cream, and some chips of ice, where it is served as breakfast.

The drink crossed the Atlantic to the British colonies during the 18th century. Since brandy and wine were heavily taxed, rum from the Triangular Trade with the Caribbean was a cost-effective substitute.[3] The inexpensive liquor, coupled with plentiful farm and dairy products, helped the drink become very popular in America.[4] When the supply of rum to the newly founded United States was reduced as a consequence of the American Revolutionary War, Americans turned to domestic whiskey, and eventually bourbon in particular, as a substitute.[3]

The Eggnog Riot occurred at the United States Military Academy on 23–25 December 1826. Whiskey was smuggled into the barracks to make eggnog for a Christmas Day party. The incident resulted in the court-martialing of twenty cadets and one enlisted soldier.


Traditional eggnog typically consists of milk, sugar and raw eggs.

Traditional eggnog typically consists of milk, sugar, raw eggs, and spices, usually nutmeg. Cream may be included to make a richer and thicker drink, though some modern eggnogs add gelatin. Vanilla is a common flavoring, with grated nutmeg sprinkled on top. Other toppings include whipped cream, meringue, cinnamon, ice cream, and chocolate curls.

Eggnog can be homemade from recipes. Ready-made eggnog versions are seasonally available and may contain whiskey, rum, brandy, bourbon, or cognac. Also available are "mixes" that contain all the ingredients except the liquor. With these the end-user can tailor the strength of the drink, from rather strong, to only a taste of liquor, to no liquor at all.

Though eggnog is high in fat and cholesterol, low-fat and no-sugar formulations are available using skimmed or lowfat milk.[5]

Under current U.S. law, commercial products sold as eggnog are permitted to contain milk, sugar, modified milk ingredients, glucose-fructose, water, carrageenan, guar gum, natural and artificial flavorings, spices (though not necessarily nutmeg), monoglycerides, and colorings.[6][7] The ingredients in commercial eggnog vary significantly, but generally raw eggs are not included.

Non-dairy eggnogs[edit]

"Silk Nog," a commercial soy milk eggnog.

Some North American manufacturers offer soy, almond, rice or coconut milk-based alternatives for vegans and those with dairy allergies.

The history of non-dairy eggnogs goes back to at least 1899 when Almeda Lambert, in her Guide for Nut Cookery, gave a recipe for "Egg Nog" made using coconut cream, eggs, and sugar.

In 1973, Eunice Farmilant, in The Natural Foods Sweet-Tooth Cookbook, gave a more modern non-dairy eggnog recipe using 3 eggs separated, 2 tablespoons of barley malt extract or Amasake syrup, 4 cups of chilled soy milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and nutmeg, (p. 138-39)

In December 1981, Grain Country of Los Angeles, California, introduced Grain Nog, the earliest known non-dairy and vegan eggnog. Based on amazake (a traditional Japanese fermented rice beverage) and containing no eggs, it was available in plain, strawberry, and carob flavors.

Also in December 1981, Redwood Valley Soyfoods Unlimited (California) introduced Soynog, the earliest known soy-based non-dairy and vegan eggnog based on soy milk and tofu (added for thickness). It was renamed Lite Nog in 1982 and Tofu Nog in 1985.

The eggnog-custard connection[edit]

Some recipes for homemade eggnog call for egg yolks to be cooked with milk into a custard to avoid potential hazards from raw eggs. (Some of these recipes call for any liquor used to be added beforehand, in the belief that the alcohol will evaporate during cooking.) Eggnog has much in common with classic custard-pudding recipes that do not call for corn starch, and many types of eggnog can also be cooked into egg-custard puddings, or churned into eggnog-flavored ice cream.

Safety concerns[edit]

For concerns about the safety of selling products made from raw eggs and milk, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has changed or altered the definition of eggnog a number of times towards artificial replacements for the large number of eggs traditionally required. Modern FDA regulations require eggnog to contain at least 1% egg yolk solids and "milk or milk products."[8][9][10][11] According to a publication of the US FDA the alcohol in egg-nog is not sufficient to sterilise contaminated eggs.[12] Others report an experiment at Rockefeller’s Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology in 2010, where salmonella was added to an egg-nog; within one to three weeks the bacteria were gone.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David Wondrich, "Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to "Professor" Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar", Penguin, 2007, ISBN 0399532870, p. 82, Milk Punch
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b c d e f Rögnvaldardóttir, Nanna; Linda Stradley. "History of Eggnog". What's Cooking America. 
  4. ^ Block, Stephen. "The History of Egg Nog". Food History. The Kitchen Project. 
  5. ^ "Low Fat Eggnog". 2009-10-30. Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  6. ^ "Welcome to Dairy Ingredients Inc. | Beverages & Fluid Dairy Products". Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  7. ^ "Ohio Authority / Food & Drink / Cocktails 101: Ruminations on Eggnog". 2009-12-11. Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  8. ^ "Index of Memoranda of Interpretation (M-a)". Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  9. ^ "CPG Sec. 527.350 Eggnog; Egg Nog Flavored Milk — Common or Usual Names". 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  10. ^ "M-I-03-13: Questions and Answers from FY'02 Regional Milk Seminars, the Regional Milk Specialist's Conference and Special Problems in Milk Protection Courses". Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  11. ^ "US Code of Federal Regulations — Title 21 - Regulation Number: 131.170 Eggnog". Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  12. ^ Homemade Eggnog: Make it Safely, Nancy Bufano, Food Technologist, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA, 21 December 2010
  13. ^ Why You Shouldn't Fear The Eggnog, Brooke Borel, 17 December 2013


  • Rombauer, Irma S. and Marion Rombauer Becker (1931 [1964]) The Joy of Cooking, pp 48, 50. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill. ISBN 0-452-25665-8.