History of the Rum Eggnog

Rum Eggnog Recipe

Eggnog is a traditional holiday drink. Toasting with eggnog is common from Buckingham Palace and the White House to homes everywhere. Eggnog has become a favorite winter drink. It is rich, spicy and rum alcoholic. A particular Christmas favorite, eggnog adds joy and merriment to any holiday atmosphere.

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The word eggnog literally means eggs in a small cup. The first mention of eggnog is found as far back as the seventeenth century. First appearing in England, eggnog was mixed with brandy or sherry and called a posset. Milk being hard to come by for the average folk, eggnog was a drink for the aristocrats. In America, farms and dairy products were plentiful as was rum. The spirits that came from Europe were heavily taxed. Rum came from the Caribbean and was far more affordable. That combination made rum eggnog a highly popular drink in America. Rum was commonly called grog in colonial America. The name eggnog may reflect this descriptive term, egg and grog, corrupted to egg’n’grog, then to eggnog. Nog in old English dialect is described as a strong beer, a noggin. Other experts would tell you that the ‘nog’ in eggnog comes from the small carved wooden mug used to serve drinks in the taverns. So it is easy to see how an egg drink served in a nog could change into eggnog.

Almost every country has its own distinct versions of Eggnog. In Puerto Rico they add coconut milk calling it a coquito. Mexico adds heavy doses of cinnamon and they sip their rompope, as it is called. Peru replaces rum with brandy and they call it pisco. Even Germany has their own form of eggnog although it is more of an egg soup with beer.

Throughout the 1800s, eggnog was made in vast quantities and always used as a social drink. Commonly served at winter parties. It was noted in 1866 by an English visitor, “Christmas is not properly observed unless you brew egg nog for all comers; everybody calls on everybody else; and each call is celebrated by a solemn egg-noggin…It is made cold and is drunk cold and is to be commended.” Also used as a New Years toast, finishing the rounds cheer became very difficult when a cup of egg nog was provided at each stop.

George Washington is reported to be quite a fan of egg nog, concocting his own special recipe that included whisky and sherry on top the rum. Only the most courageous were willing to join George as the finished product was quite a potent one.

Traditional Eggnog Recipe

12 eggs, separated
1+ ½ cups sugar
2 cups bourbon
¾ cup brandy
6 cups milk
2 cups heavy/ thickened cream
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

In a large bowl and using a mixer, beat the egg yolks together with the sugar for approx 10 minutes (you want the mixture to be firm and the color of butter). Very slowly, add in the bourbon and brandy – just a little at a time. When bourbon and brandy have been added, allow the mixture to cool in the fridge (for up to 6 hours, depending on how long before your party you’re making the eggnog). 30 minutes before your guests arrive, stir the milk into the chilled yolk mixture. Stir in 1+ ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat the cream with a mixer on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks. In yet another bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Gently fold the cream into the egg mixture. After ladling into cups, garnish with the remainder of the ground nutmeg. Serves 8

Rum Quote: Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest-Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! ~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island