Many of the winter holiday traditions – from songs sung, to decorations hung to foods enjoyed – have deep roots in Europe. So it's not surprising to discover that one of the season's most popular drinks is no different.
The exact origins of the drink combining milk/cream, eggs, sugar and a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon are muddied. But most experts point to somewhere in England or Ireland as its likely birthplace. Initially, eggnog was said to be a popular drink with wealthy Britons, who had greater access to milk and eggs than ordinary citizens and could also afford the brandy or sherry that was mixed in to slow spoilage.
Eventually, colonists brought the drink to North America, where eggs and dairy were plentiful and rum from the Caribbean was used. Eggnog has remained popular in the U.S. and Canada since. Canadians consume about eight million liters of eggnog each year, which is about one cup for every man, woman and child in the country.
Love it or hate it – and make no mistake, it seems there are just as many people detest eggnog as there are those who dream of it – it's a staple of Christmas social gatherings everywhere. In fact, popular bars and restaurants such as the Drake Hotel in Toronto and New York's famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel serve homemade eggnog or create cocktails featuring eggnog as the star ingredient throughout the holiday season.