Worth the hype: eggnog is a holiday blessing

Eggnog, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Eggnog, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Each January, dairy manufacturers and grocery stores begin anew a vicious cycle: robbing the American people of a delicious beverage for nine to ten months out of the year. This holiday delicacy is, of course, eggnog.

The drink certainly has an acquired taste, being a combination of dairy, eggs, spices, and decidedly too much sugar for it to be consumed in large quantities. This issue is only exasperated by its rich texture, but that’s just it; this isn’t an “issue” at all. If the stated goal of eggnog was for it to act as a standard drink, to be consumed as though it were a holiday-themed replacement for water, milk or tea, it could be considered bad, but instead, people drink eggnog because it is filling, texturally thick and calorically dense. Most people could not stomach an overly large serving of crème brûlée, but it’s a delicious dessert nonetheless.

Stated goals aside, some people simply don’t like eggnog even in the correct context. But how many of these people are there? And how many people actually like eggnog? Only through the sterling bastion of democracy can these mysteries be solved. According to a survey from Poll Position, only 44 percent of people stated they liked eggnog. However, that statistic is more impressive than it looks because the remaining 56 percent of people did not all dislike eggnog. Only 34 percent claimed to dislike it, while 10 percent had no opinion, and 7 percent had never tasted the beverage. So while eggnog enjoyers have failed to achieve a majority, or 50 percent, as United States presidential elections teach us, that isn’t necessary for the entire country to have to listen to your opinions for at least the next four years.

Similarly, according to polling by Saint Leo’s University, among various holiday flavors including gingerbread, peppermint and pumpkin spice, eggnog is the most popular, with 20 percent of respondents calling it their favorite.

In addition to perfectly fulfilling its niche and clearly holding a special place in the hearts and minds of Americans, eggnog is also significant because of its history. Skipping past all that boring British stuff, we arrive in 1776 (give or take), when General and future President George Washington served eggnog at his home in Mt. Vernon. And in 1826, a group of cadets at the United States Military Academy in West Point, driven solely by their patriotic love of eggnog (and also alcohol) rioted in what became known as the Grog Mutiny.

Eggnog is a truly fantastic beverage: delicious, thematic, unique, popular and rich, both physically and historically. It may not be for everyone, but what it does, it does perfectly, and what it doesn’t do, it has no obligation to, so there really isn’t room for complaint.

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