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British Influences on North American Foodways: Egg Nog

British Influences on North American Foodways: Egg Nog

Courtesy of the New York Public Library

Courtesy of the New York Public Library

As part of my series on European influences on North American foodways let's turn to a classic holiday beverage—eggnog. I grew up associating with Christmas. I came across sources that mentioned “nogs” and “eggnog” that made me curious about the history of this Christmas drink. Eggnog has its roots in the winter drinkways of the British aristocracy back in Europe. Commoners would not have had the resources to have access to fresh milk and eggs. In the winter, the wealthy would at times drink their warm milk and egg beverage seasoned with pricey spices such as ground nutmeg and cinnamon and expensive liquors like brandy and sherry to keep it from spoiling. The concoction traveled across the Atlantic in the 18th century with several modifications after it arrived in colonial American taverns and homes. In colonial North America the abundant availability of dairy products and traded rum from the Caribbean made the drink popular among free commoners, white indentured servants, and enslaved Africans. Rum—the drink of the marginalized—became the substitute for the heavily taxed brandy and wine in the colonies.

Pork and New Year's Food Traditions

Pork and New Year's Food Traditions

Winter Time Foods

Winter Time Foods