Why Virginia may be the birthplace of eggnog

Home for the Holidays

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — While you are decking the halls, or trimming the tree, or wrapping presents, you might be sipping on some eggnog.

After all, ’tis the season.

If you are enjoying some eggnog, you may have Virginians of Christmas-past to thank for it.

Some historians say Virginia is the birthplace of eggnog.

So how did that happen?

It all stems from Virginia’s boiled custard or drinking custard tradition that goes back 500 years. British colonists brought recipes for those drinks with them when they settled in the Commonwealth. They then started to enhance them — and by enhance, we mean they added alcohol. Thus, eggnog as we know it was born.

There is still plenty of eggnog being made today. Many families have their own recipes, and one of the better known commercial brands is made in small batches by Homestead Creamery in Franklin County. However, Homestead makes it without any alcohol.

Those who have had Homestead’s nog compare it to history in a bottle.

“We’ve gotten a lot of reports from people of how it reminds them of their childhood,” said Homestead’s Amy Rice. “A lot of people will say it reminds them of a family recipe that they haven’t been able to replicate.”

Rice says some of their customers will travel from hundreds of miles away to fill up ice chests at Homestead Creamery and then take them home.

That’s just proof of how popular eggnog remains across the United States, and what a vital role Virginia still plays in that popularity.

One last bit of history about eggnog — one of the recipes that helped popularize the drink in the early United States is attributed to none other than the ‘Father of Our Country,’ George Washington.

Are you hankering for some homemade eggnog now? Test out this recipe in your own kitchen:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rye whiskey or bourbon
  • 1/2 cup of sherry
  • 1/2 cup of dark rum
  • 12 room-temperature eggs
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 4 cups of milk (1 quart)
  • 4 cups of heavy cream (1 quart)
  • Nutmeg and cinnamon for garnish

Instructions:

  • Combine all of the liquor into a bowl and set it aside.
  • Separate the egg whites and yolks into separate bowls.
  • Whisk the yolks until thickened.
  • Add sugar while continuously whisking.
  • Add liquor while continuously whisking.
  • Add milk while continuously whisking.
  • Add heavy cream while continuously whisking.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  • Add the egg whites to the yolk mixture and fold in.
  • Put in refrigerator, covered, for no less than five days. The flavors will meld and the alcohol will cure the raw eggs.

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