One holiday tradition that seems to receive divided opinion among our ESL students is a beverage known as Eggnog. It may be the name that, although accurate, throws people off. In America we’re used to cooking our eggs in all forms. Still Eggnog is enjoyed all around the country as well as Hancock International College especially this time of year. says, “It is believed that the eggnog began in Europe. As early as the 13th century, medieval monks in Britain were known to drink posset, a warm ale punch with eggs and figs. Over the years, this likely merged with the various milk and wine punches often served at social gatherings.

By the 17th century, sherry became the primary ingredient and it was popular to use this eggy beverage as a toast to one’s health and prosperity. It was primarily consumed by the well-to-do of society because milk, eggs, and sherry were scarce commodities in Europe at the time…When the brew was brought to the New World, colonists added their own twist. The rum that American colonists could get from the Caribbean was considerably less expensive than the other liquors shipped from England. And so, along with the readily available supply of milk and eggs in the colonies, the rum version quickly became a popular drink for people of all classes.

…As a rich, spicy, and alcoholic drink, eggnog became a familiar fixture during the holiday season across the growing colonies and, eventually, the new country of the United States in the 1700s. Each region would adapt the drink to their personal tastes. In the South, for instance, people’s tastes tended to prefer whiskey over rum.

It’s said that George Washington devised his own recipe of the brew which only the most courageous guests would partake. The first President’s recipe mixed 1 pint brandy, 1/2 pint each rye whiskey and Jamaican rum, and 1/4 pint sherry with 1 quart each cream and milk and “one dozen tablespoons sugar.” It used 12 separated eggs and prepared it in the traditional eggnog style. His notes also say, “Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.””

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Idiom of the Day

A Tough Egg to Crack

Meaning: A person, thing, situation, or problem that is particularly difficult to understand, solve, or deal with.

Example: I’ve known July for over a year, and I still think she’s a tough egg to crack!