Eggnog: Love it or Hate it?

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‘Tis the season for Eggnog, the ubiquitous holiday drink that is also one of the most polarizing.

Last week on Evan Kleiman’s Facebook page we asked our listeners a simple question: “Eggnog: Love it or Hate it?,” and the results proved interesting.

A Brief History of Eggnog

Jefferson davis
Jefferson Davis (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

It turns out, eggnog has a relatively long history in America (considering how long the republic has existed), and apparently George Washington was a fan.

But eggnog’s story started in England, according to Icelandic writer Nanna Rognvaldardottir. She wrote that eggnog was a privilege reserved for the British aristocracy in the late eighteenth century because eggs and milk were a luxury in England at the time.

But here in the U.S. there was a greater number of small dairy farms, as well as a wide availability of rum: in other words, an eggnog perfect storm.

The beverage was even was the starting point of the so-called “Eggnog Riot” on Christmas Day in 1826 at West Point, where several cadets smuggled in rum for a Christmas Party and started a riot.  Among the participants was Jefferson Davis, who would become president of the Confederacy a few decades later.

But now it seems the riot over egg nog has shifted to the debate of whether it is disgusting, great as is, or acceptable with modifications.

The Debate over Eggnog 

Below is what some of our listeners had to say about eggnog.  We got a lot of love, a lot of hate, and a lot of interesting suggestions. Many said they preferred a homemade version over a store-bought, some suggested using a lighter base such as almond milk, and many people just love that it is oftentimes paired with rum.


Thanks to Bill Grantham, we also learned that L.A. jazz legend Charles Mingus has an eggnog recipe. However, drink with caution.

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L.A. cocktail wizard Matthew Biancaniello got a shout out. Here’s a recipe for his ‘Umami Eggnog.’

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For a Latin American twist on eggnog, Rompope is a similar beverage with Mexican origins that is also popular throughout Central America.