It’s that time of year when people all over the world get a hankering for holiday eggnog. You already know it’s delicious, but did you know it was responsible for a riot at West Point? Or that it was prescribed as medicine by doctors in the 1800s? Read on to learn more about everyone’s favorite way to imbibe during the holidays.


1. Americans love of eggnog adds to its waistline.

According to Indiana University, Americans consume over 135 million pounds of eggnog every year — almost all of that between Thanksgiving and New Years. Recipes will vary, but a one cup serving of eggnog has approximately 210 calories and 11 grams of fat. Some eggnog brands can cram as many as 450 calories and 58 grams of sugar into a single serving. Add rum and whipped cream and you’re basically drinking dinner.


2. George Washington left us his favorite eggnog recipe.

Founding father George Washington had a, now famous, recipe for boozy eggnog that used rye whiskey, rum, and sherry. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, Washington served the drink frequently to guests at Mount Vernon. The recipe is widely circulated today, but Washington forgot to include the exact number of eggs, so cooks looking to recreate his favorite holiday drink need to improvise. But here are his exact words:

One quart cream, one quart milk, one dozen tablespoons sugar, one pint brandy, ½ pint rye whiskey, ½ pint Jamaica rum, ¼ pint sherry—mix liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of 12 eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.


3. I like Ike’s eggnog.

Washington wasn’t the only president with a penchant for eggnog. Dwight Eisenhower is said to have enjoyed cooking as a way to relieve stress, and had a rather large collection of recipes. Ike’s eggnog recipe calls for one dozen egg yolks, one pound of granulated sugar, one quart of bourbon, one quart of coffee cream (half and half), and one quart of whipping cream.


4. Posset was its predecessor.

No one is exactly sure when eggnog originated, but some historians believe the drink is a descendent of the medieval British drink “posset.” Posset is described by Merriam-Webster as “a hot drink of sweetened and spiced milk curdled with ale or wine.”


5. What’s in a name?

The word “eggnog” is believed to have got its name from the word “noggin,” which as a small wooden cup that the drink was served from.


6. Medicine for malaria.

Not feeling fantastic? Ingest some raw eggs! In the 1800s, eggnog was listed in medical texts as a treatment for diseases, such as malaria fever.


7. more ‘nog’ than ‘egg.’

While the name “eggnog” suggests the primary ingredient is probably eggs, taking a closer look at the label shows otherwise. The FDA requires that products labeled as eggnog have as little as 1 percent of egg yolk solids to qualify. Other ingredients like butterfat fill in the void.


8. Eggnog in the movies.

The best eggnog reference of all time goes to Clark W. Griswold in A Christmas Vacation speaking to his brother Eddie, while ladling eggnog into Wally World moose mugs. “Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?”


9. Eggnog sparks a riot.

The Eggnog Riot took place on Christmas Eve and into the morning hours of Christmas Day, 1826. A Christmas party at the United States Military Academy at West Point went very wrong thanks to some cadets who smuggled liquor from nearby taverns onto campus. The cadets proceeded to get wildly intoxicated resulting in smashed windows, broken furniture, the drawing of swords, and gunshots. No one was seriously harmed, but when the fun was over, 19 cadets were expelled.


10. A national celebration.

December 24 is National Eggnog Day. Will you be celebrating? Find your favorite eggnog recipe, and drink up in the name of the holidays!


ALSO SEE: 15 recipes that use eggnog.


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Author

Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.