Eggnog Is Older Than You Think

How exactly do the lyrics of that old Christmas classic, "Grandma Got Run by a Reindeer," go? "She'd been drinking too much...posset?" No, as anyone who's heard the song knows, the word at that point is clearly eggnog, and if you've ever celebrated Christmas or been to a holiday party anywhere in Canada, the United States, or Great Britain, chances are you've sampled some of the warm and creamy beverage for yourself.

According to one theory, the eggnog concoction evolved from an English drink called posset, made from hot milk, wine or ale, whichever you prefer, and spices, according to Why Christmas. Minus the egg, that sure sounds like an eggnog recipe, doesn't it? But how long have we been drinking eggnog as a way to celebrate the holiday season, and how exactly did it become related to Christmas, particularly in North America? The truth of the matter is, eggnog is much older than you think.

Monks drank something like it

According to the Chicago Tribune, the first time the word eggnog appeared in print in America was in 1775. Although the Germans also drank a concoction made from egg, milk, and wine, it's generally accepted that eggnog as we know it today came over to the New World from England — and in actuality, that seems likely to be due to a mix of both German and English influences. Evidence supporting that England is primarily where the drink comes from, though, is that the Old English word "nog" means ale. In light of that, eggnog translates roughly to "ale with egg in it."

Over time, eggnog became associated with toasting to prosperity and good health, just the kind of notions we celebrate around the holidays. It's warm, rich, and spicy flavor, with a bit of celebratory booze, suited the culture of highly agrarian colonies, especially during the winter. By the late 19th century, it had even slipped into White House menus. According to Spruce Eats, though, English monks were drinking posset — the ancestral relative of modern eggnog — as far back as the 1300s. So, the true origins of eggnog stretch back much further than the birth of America — keep those monks in mind when you're when you're toasting some 'nog this holiday season.