Christmas recipes. A brief history of the Eggnog

Dec 4 2020, 08:38 | by Marco Sabellico
Eggnog is any drink, hot or cold, made with eggs, milk, sugar and spirits shaken together. Here's our recipe!

It’s Christmas, a very special one. We shouldn’t be planning the usual great family reception or other festive gatherings. We are home, with our loved one, with our close family members. It’s cold outside, some snowflakes are already framing the windows… It’s getting dark… Well, we need a drink!

The most classic of all classics Xmas drinks it’s Eggnog. Probably since the Roman era… Our ancestors had a talent to mix wine with anything, to make cold drinks in summer and hot ones in winter, be those thirst quenchers, medicinal beverages, heartwarming cups to sip in the cold days. And when beer and spirits become popular new recipes were created. It was popular in England in the XIII century, even though it’s use was reserved to clergy, aristocrats and wealthy people. They used to drink it from the nog, a wooden cup with two handles, hence probably the name.

Coming to the modern era the recipe is credited to a certain bartender whose name is Carl Johannessons, who was operating in London in the early XVIII century. But since the ingredients are easy to find everywhere, and the names such as “auld man’s milk” or “lait de poule” make clear it was popular almost everywhere. The unavoidable Professor Jerry Thomas as far as 1862 is quite exhaustive in his How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon-Vivant’s Companion, gives room to the topic. He says that “is a beverage of American origin, but it has a popularity that is cosmopolitan…”, and provides us with the basic recipe and five different variation on the theme.

To make a long story short, in order not to bore you, an Eggnog is any drink, hot or cold made with eggs, milk, sugar and spirits shaken together. Even a strong beer, a barley wine or a cider would do… Technically speaking belongs to the Flip family of drinks, like Porto Flip etc. etc..

To guide you through the 1000+variation of this easy-to-make-

-at-home recipe here’s the recent revised version of the IBA, international bartender’s association

4.0 cl Brandy
5.0 cl Milk
1.0 cl simple syrup or maple syrup or caramel
1 egg yolk

Pour all the ingredients in a tin shaker with ice, shake well an pour in a cold wine goblet or a rock glass, and garnish with grated nutmeg on top.

This is only a suggestion… make your own, if you don’t have an old family recipe… Use your favorite spirits (Scotch, Cognac and Rum are very popular, pure or blended together), or wines like sweet Sherry or Marsala,  your favourite spices (cloves, vanilla, mace, cinnamom). Even egg white is welcome, gently whipped, as half and half or fresh cream…

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