Explaining egg nog’s origins, popularity

The creamy decadence makes this drink a special holiday beverage

(CNN) – It’s not the most intuitive combination: eggs, and cream, and booze. Maybe that’s why egg nog gets a bad rap. Washington-based mixologist derek brown says you really haven’t tried egg nog, until you’ve tried egg nog made from scratch. His keys are fresh ingredients, and good spirits.

“The one thing that I advise is keep the spirit brown, because that adds richness to it. It likely is an indicator that it has barrel-age to it, which adds stuff like vanilla, and spicy characteristics.”

While brandy, rum, sherry, bourbon, or a combination, give egg nog a kick, the original idea of adding alcohol hundreds of years ago, was probably so the mixture wouldn’t spoil.

Egg nog has British origins, a descendant of a drink called “Posset”, essentially hot milk and liquor. Early Americans, including George Washington, gave its popularity a boost on this side of the Atlantic, because ingredients were easy to find.

“They had dairy, they had cows, they had chickens and eggs, and so this was readily accessible for them to make, and at some point it became a popular drink, especially in colonial America.”

The colonists’ preferred spirit was rum. Since then, there have been plenty of variations.

“Some people add vanilla extract, some people add different spices, some people add cinnamon on it, some people put nutmeg. Some people use bourbon, some people will use brandy. I think in each case, people can have their own little twist on it, and make something really delicious.”

As for its link with the holiday season, the creamy decadence makes it a special occasion beverage, best served when the weather is chilly.

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