Overhead view of glass of eggnog with nutmeg

What Is Eggnog Anyway?

Did you notice in the last couple of weeks that eggnog has returned to the milk case at the grocery store? Is your local barista offering up eggnog lattes? Did you smell a little mulled wine in the air at your favorite hangout recently? Well, the holidays are certainly here and there’s more than one way to serve up a little holiday cheer in a glass.

You may be asking yourself, “What’s this have to do with Sustainability?” Actually, only a little bit; let me explain. I keep coming across conversations about how sustainability is just doing it the old fashioned way – the really old fashioned way. I’m talking about the “farm to table” concept that so much of this country was built on. That’s made me think about my grandfather’s house inVermont.

He grew apples using his brain and hard work to get the most from the farm without any inputs that nature didn’t provide. In the fall grandma made all kinds of dishes from apples, but Grumps, as we called him, made apple juice and cider. When that cider was left out on the back porch it would turn into hard cider.

Come winter-time there was one more treat to fall from the tree – the famous applejack. As the snow settled in for the season part of the hard-cider would freeze and he’d scrape it off and be left with an apple spirit. The harder the freeze, the harder the spirit. I think it’s fair to say that low-impact farming provided many forms of nourishment and enjoyment for my grandparents.

So, reminiscing about apple-jack had me thinking about eggnog. I think people fall into two camps – those who drink eggnog and those who are repulsed by it. I’m a convert, and I actually like it when it is “good” eggnog, which, for me, means it’s blended with enough brandy to mask a good bit of the flavor. I guess I’m not converted enough to love it, but there’s something about the holiday’s that makes me want to love it.

I found out that eggnog is derived from posset, a medieval European beverage made of spiced, hot milk curdled with beer or wine to fight off the ailments of winter. InNorth Americaduring colonial times rum was added along with egg yolks for nutritional value. Hold it, raw eggs are in eggnog? Ok, so I’m one of those people sometimes misses the obvious, but really – raw eggs? Well, it turns out most commercial eggnogs use egg substitutes. Even that doesn’t make me feel much better; do I really want to drink something that emulates the taste of raw eggs?

Maybe a more appropriate topic would be mulled wine. In fact, I’m going to ask Chef Justin  to give us one his recipes. In the meantime, if you’ve got a favorite holiday concoction or are a staunch defender of the Nog – tell us all about it.

For the record, this story is for informational purposes only. Anyone making or consuming alcoholic beverages should follow all legal requirements.