AskDefine | Define eggnog

Dictionary Definition

eggnog n : a punch made of sweetened milk or cream mixed with eggs and usually alcoholic liquor

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. An alcoholic beverage based on milk, eggs, sugar, nutmeg and rum, brandy or whisky; popular at Christmas. A nonalcoholic version exists also.



an alcoholic beverage

Extensive Definition

Eggnog (or egg nog) is a sweetened dairy-based beverage made with milk, cream, sugar, beaten eggs (which gives it a frothy texture), and flavoured with ground cinnamon and nutmeg; alcoholic versions also exist with the addition of various liquors, such as rum, brandy, whisky, & sake.
Eggnog is a popular drink in North America, Central America and South America and is usually associated with winter celebrations such as Christmas and New Year. Eggnog is also very popular in Central Europe, but only its cognac version, that can be bought almost everywhere, mostly in Christmas-markets, during November and December. Commercially, non-alcoholic eggnog is available around Christmas time and during the winter.


The origins, etymology, and even the ingredients used to make the original eggnog drink are debated. Eggnog, or a very similar drink, may have originated in East Anglia, England, though it may also have been developed from posset (a medieval European beverage made with hot milk). An article by Nanna Rognvaldardottir, an Icelandic food expert, states that the drink adopted the nog part of its name from the word noggin, a Middle English phrase used to describe a small, wooden, carved mug used to serve alcohol in. Another name for this English drink was Egg Flip. Yet another story is that the term derived from the name egg-and-grog, a common Colonial term used to describe rum. Eventually the term was shortened to egg'n'grog, then eggnog.
The ingredients for the drink were too expensive and uncommon for the lower classes, but it was popular among the aristocracy. "You have to remember, the average Londoner rarely saw a glass of milk," says author and historian James Humes ("To Humes It May Concern", July 1997). "There was no refrigeration, and the farms belonged to the big estates. Those who could get milk and eggs to make eggnog mixed it with brandy or Madeira or even sherry."
The drink crossed the Atlantic to the English 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. The inexpensive liquor coupled with plentiful farm and dairy products helped the drink become very popular in America.


Modern eggnog typically consists of milk and eggs. Frequently cream is substituted for some portion of the milk to make a much richer drink. In some eggnogs you can find Gelatin. Toppings may include vanilla, ice cream or whipped cream.
Eggnog can be produced from homemade recipes, however, ready-made eggnog containing alcohol and "just-add-alcohol" versions are available for purchase. Whiskey, rum, brandy, or cognac are often added. Since the 1960s, eggnog has often been served cold and without alcohol, both of which are significant departures from its historical origins. Lowfat eggnog is commercially available or it may be prepared in the home using skimmed or lowfat milk. In North America, a few soymilk manufacturers, including the popular brand Silk, offer seasonally-available, soy-based alternatives for vegans and those with dairy or milk allergies. Eggnog may be added as a flavouring to food or drinks such as coffee and tea. Eggnog-flavoured ice cream, for example, is a seasonal product in the US.


Eggnog is typically served as a Christmas drink or during New Year's Eve in America. American Thanksgiving (late November) falls at the beginning of the season in which eggnog is typically consumed, but the product begins appearing in stores around Halloween, although it can be found in a small handful of stores year-round. Historically, it has been a winter beverage not specifically associated with any holiday.


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

External links

eggnog in Danish: Eggnog
eggnog in German: Eggnog
eggnog in French: Lait de poule
eggnog in Hebrew: ליקר ביצים
eggnog in Dutch: Egg nog
eggnog in Japanese: エッグノッグ
eggnog in Portuguese: Eggnog
eggnog in Finnish: Munatoti
eggnog in Swedish: Äggtoddy
eggnog in Chinese: 蛋诺类
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