Eggnog’s “Nog”

Frothy, creamy eggnog is a favorite beverage this time of year. Flavored with cinnamon or nutmeg, this winter drink is made with milk, sugar, and eggs. Usually an alcohol, like rum, is added.

Eggnog probably dates back to the Elizabethan era. Over time, in England and America, there have been many versions of the drink, using alcohols like rum, brandy, whiskey, and bourbon. And it’s been flavored with everything from molasses to dried pumpkin.

Similar drinks have been called posset and egg flip. But what’s the “nog” all about?

Well, the answer is debated. One theory is that “nog” derives from the word “noggin,” which was a Middle English word for a type of mug that alcohol was served in.

Another theory claims that the name derived from a Colonial term for rum: egg-and-grog. This term was shortened to egg’n’grog, and would then eventually become eggnog.

What’s the lesson here? Even the simplest pleasures sometimes contain a bit of mystery.