A nod to nog

What I find rather amusing about the history of eggnog is that in Renaissance Europe, it was a popular holiday tradition and was used to toast to one’s health… at nearly 400 calories per cup, gobs of saturated fat and cholesterol galore. Earlier versions from the 1700’s in upper-class England were laced with sherry, ale and Madeira.

American colonists introduced rum and brandy to the mix. The father of our country, George Washington, was an enthusiastic fan: he laced his with rye whiskey, rum and sherry. All at once. I’ll bet his house was a joyous place to be at Christmastime.

My father loved the tradition – the real thing, laced with bourbon and topped with grated nutmeg (once, my mother came home with some low-fat stuff and he poured it down the drain). The tradition continues in my home, although I’ve played with variations over the years.

Here are a few of my favorites: 

  • COFFEE NOG: Perfect on Christmas morning. Two parts strong, black coffee; one part eggnog.
  • RUSSIAN EGGNOG: It’s a White Russian (vodka, Kahlua and cream) with eggnog replacing the cream.
  • EGGNOG FRENCH TOAST: Dip bread slices in eggnog dusted with a little cinnamon, and fry in butter. Top with syrup. What the heck, throw in some fatty fried bacon on the side.
  • ORANGE EGGNOG PUNCH: Two parts eggnog, one part orange juice and a big splash of ginger ale to give it a little lift.
Robin Benzle is a radio and television personality and hosts the food and travel website www.robinbenzle.com.
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Volume 1, Issue 8, Posted 10:07 AM, 11.30.2009