The Actual Reason Eggnog Is Considered A Christmas Drink

You can spot eggnog at just about every Christmas party, dinner, and holiday-themed gathering in the month of December, but what is it really doing there, and why is it so closely tied to Christmas? Whether you're an avid eggnog drinker or prefer holiday punch, you probably don't know the history behind how it became such a popular Christmas drink, or why anyone decided to start drinking spiced milk with egg yolks in the first place.

According to Time, while eggnog's exact origins are tough to pin down, historians generally agree that it evolved in medieval Britain, and specifically from a drink called "posset," which was a mixture of milk and ale served hot. Historians know thatĀ monks were drinking posset with eggs and figs by the 1200s, and since eggs and milk were traditionally foods that only the wealthy had access to, early forms of eggnog were usually used in toasts to good fortune.

As USA Today reports, British aristocrats usually turned eggnog into an alcoholic beverage by adding brandy or sherry, since the liquor would help prevent the milk and eggs from spoiling. By the 1700s, eggnog had made its way across the Atlantic to the colonies in the United States. However, there were high taxes on brandy and wine in the colonies, making them less affordable, so colonists mixed in the much more readily available rum, which was traded out of the Caribbean.

How eggnog and Christmas became linked together

American colonists are also probably responsible for giving eggnog its name. According to Delish, the colonists called rum "grog," and drank it out of wooden mugs called noggins, so eggnog was initially known as "egg-n-grog" before finally getting shortened to the name we know it as today. Since it was served hot, eggnog was primarily served in the winter in Great Britain and the U.S. colonies. However, during the Revolutionary War, supplies like rum were scarce, which probably made rum-spiked eggnog a special occasion drink, linking it to winter holidays like Christmas.

According to The Kitchn, diaries and journals from colonists note that eggnog was a traditional Christmas drink. The journals don't specifically mention why, but another theory linking eggnog to Christmas is that the spiked drink was used for celebrations, especially if the ingredients were expensive and tricky to find at times. With alcohol added, eggnog could also be aged for months, so it might've been a convenient drink for winter when the harvest was finished and food supplies might've been scarce. No matter how eggnog and Christmas first became linked, the tradition has lived on, so be sure to grab a cup this year and toast to the holiday.