A Short History of Eggnog
"Nog" was also an old English word referring to strong beer, and the word may have been extended to other alcoholic drinks. And there's yet another possibility, since a "noggin" is a 17th century English word for a small mug, or a quarter-pint measure of liquor. So the word "eggnog" may have been coined to refer to an egg-based drink served in a noggin…
Eggnog was nutritious and revitalizing - a perfect drink to buck up settlers facing the rigors of life in the new world. Later on, non-alcoholic versions of eggnog were often offered to children and invalids as a tonic. But in 19th century North America, eggnog, generously fortified with rum, whisky or brandy, became firmly entrenched as a Christmas season tradition, a convivial drink set out in huge bowls and ladled into little cups for carolers, friends and whoever stopped by.
The consistency should be fairly thick, and because of its rich egg content, eggnog should be served in small quantities. Depending on regional custom, a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg can be added. Some hosts provide a little shaker of these spices next to the serving bowl so that guests can flavour the drink to their liking.
- Separate the egg whites from the yolks; beat the whites to stiff peaks with 125 ml (1/2 c.) of the sugar and set aside;
- using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with the remaining 125 ml (1/2 c.) sugar;
- gradually add in all the liquids while continuing to beat the mixture;
- fold in the beaten egg whites;
- serve warm or cold in small individual glasses.
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