10 Delicious Facts About Eggnog

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iStock

Eggnog: you know it's delicious, but did you know it once led to a riot at West Point? In honor of National Eggnog Month (which runs all of December) and National Eggnog Day (which falls on December 24), join us as we raise our glasses to one of the most popular beverages of the season with these fascinating facts.

1. Eggnog most likely originated in Medieval times.

Most historians trace eggnog back to posset, a hot milk-based drink comprised of spices and wine, which became popular as early as the 14th century. Though it was mostly consumed as a cozy cocktail, it was also used as a soothing remedy for colds and flu. Posset remained a mainstay into Shakespeare’s era, though it was famously used for nefarious purposes in Macbeth when Lady Macbeth drugged the guards’s posset outside King Duncan’s chambers.

2. George Washington had a (now-famous) super-boozy eggnog recipe.


Portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Our first president apparently enjoyed serving eggnog during Christmas at Mount Vernon; according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, it was one of his favorite concoctions. The recipe continues to circulate widely today, even though Washington forgot to include the number of eggs needed (hey, improvise!). And here it is, in his exact words:

One quart cream, one quart milk, one dozen tablespoons sugar, one pint brandy, ½ pint rye whiskey, ½ pint Jamaica rum, ¼ pint sherry—mix liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.

3. Dwight Eisenhower was also a proponent of boozy 'nog.

One of the 34th president’s favorite ways to de-stress was to cook, according to National Journal. “By the time he left office, Dwight Eisenhower had concocted a hearty collection of recipes, chronicled in his post presidential papers,” write Marina Koren, Brian Resnick and Matt Berman. “There was his famous vegetable soup and beef stew, warm hush puppies, and lemon chiffon pie ... But nothing could get you drunk faster than Ike’s eggnog.”

Ike’s recipe calls for one dozen egg yolks, one pound of granulated sugar, one quart of bourbon, one quart of coffee cream (half & half), and one quart of whipping cream. National Journal whipped up some of Ike’s eggnog, and found it a “very alcoholic, surprisingly light and creamy (in density, not in richness or calories) nog.”

4. Heavily spiked eggnog once caused an infamous West Point riot.


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The Eggnog Riot, a.k.a. The Grog Mutiny, was a Christmas soiree gone very wrong at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1826. Earlier that year, Colonel Sylvanus Thayer, West Point’s superintendent, had forbidden alcohol on campus. Known as the “Father of West Point,” Thayer turned what had once been an academy consisting of an undisciplined student body and a derelict campus into the respected institution West Point is today, according to Natasha Geiling in her very detailed retelling of the riot for Smithsonian magazine.

“Eggnog was a traditional part of West Point’s annual Christmas celebration, but Thayer’s moratorium on alcohol threw a wrench in the festivities,” Geiling wrote. “Not to be denied a night of revelry, some cadets set about smuggling in liquor from nearby taverns for the holiday party.”

The cadets proceeded to get rip-roaring drunk, and the night resulted in smashed crockery and windows, broken furniture, the drawing of swords (no one was hurt), gunshots (only a doorjamb was harmed), and a knocked-down lieutenant. Once the “party” was over, 19 cadets were expelled.

The U.S. Army also has a telling of the Eggnog Riot on its official homepage, and the article concludes thusly: “Years have passed since the cadets overindulged on eggnog, but the moral of their story is still applicable. Too much of the ‘good stuff’ can lead to serious consequences. So remember this story as the holiday parties approach; let's not let one night of fun alter our future as 19 West Point cadets had.”

5. When Starbucks removed Eggnog Latte from its holiday menu, there was a flurry of complaints.

In 2014, Starbucks dropped the Eggnog Latte from its offerings. According to USA Today, there was immediate customer backlash. “The coffee kingpin will bring back its seasonal Eggnog Latte nationwide this month after a customer revolt spread from letters to phone calls to social media,” reporter Bruce Horovitz wrote. “It had dropped the beverage, a seasonal offering since 1986, to try to simplify its expanding menu.” Starbucks even issued an apology: "We made a mistake," said then-spokeswoman Linda Mills. "We are very sorry."

Starbucks credits the original Eggnog Latte to Il Giornale, a small, Italian-themed coffee chain in Seattle. Il Giornale’s owner was Howard Schultz, who bought Starbucks in 1987 and then continued the Eggnog Latte tradition at the now-behemoth coffee chain. Though Schultz left Starbucks earlier this year, eggnog-flavored beverages continue to be a part of the coffee chain's holiday menu.

6. Puerto Rico has its own holiday drink that's similar to eggnog.

Coquito is a traditional Puerto Rican Christmas drink, and it’s typically made with coconut milk, rum, nutmeg, cinnamon, and, depending on the chef, sometimes condensed milk, and sometimes egg yolks. The Museo del Barrio in New York City hosts an popular annual Coquito Masters contest during the holiday season.

“Coquito is a very important tradition in the Puerto Rican community. Everyone has their own recipe,” Debbie Quiñones, founder of the contest, told the New York Times in 2009. At the contest covered in the article, one woman competed with her father’s secret recipe, which her mother had stolen for her from his hiding place: a metal safe under his bed. Another contestant used his grandmother’s recipe.

“Everyone has a little quirk that they think makes it better than everyone else’s,” Dr. Frank Estrada, another contestant who was competing with an old family recipe, said. “I can’t sell it, because if I was to put a price on it, of what I think it’s worth, they couldn’t afford it.”

7. It is important to chug eggnog with caution—even the non-alcoholic kind.

In 2014, Ryan Roche of Lehi, Utah, officially became “Utah man hospitalized after chugging eggnog.” Roche’s story of eggnog chugging gone awry became national news, all because he decided to engage in an alcohol-free eggnog-chugging contest as part of an office holiday party.

According to BuzzFeed News, Roche was on his way out the door when he heard his boss yell, “Roche, get up here!” Roche then chugged a whole quart of eggnog in 12 seconds flat. “I just opened up the carton and pretty much poured it down my throat,” Roche told reporter Jim Dalrymple. “I didn’t take a breath of air.”

Roche left the party coughing, but he figured he would soon be fine. Instead, ended up in the hospital, where he spent a day in the Intensive Care Unit, and another two days in recovery. The doctors determined Roche had inhaled some of the eggnog, and he was given antibiotics.

8. Eggnog is sometimes referred to as a "hell's angel."

In Stella Gibbons’s 1932 novel Cold Comfort Farm, one of the main characters makes a beverage called a Hell’s Angel, consisting of one egg, one teaspoon of cream, two ounces of brandy, and some ice.

9. David Letterman liked to incorporate eggnog into his Late Night holiday traditions.

David Letterman was famous for his oddball holiday traditions, such as annual target practice involving the giant meatball that topped the Late Show’s Christmas tree in lieu of a traditional star, bow, or angel. And of course, some of his odd holiday shenanigans incorporated eggnog. One year, Letterman drenched his film crew with a Super Soaker filled with eggnog. Another year, the Goo Goo Dolls performed their hit song “Name” with nothing particularly unusual about the performance ... until they dove into a giant glass of eggnog.

10. December 24th is National Eggnog Day.

So what are you waiting for? Find your favorite eggnog recipe. Add some booze, or don’t. Dive in. Don’t forget to come up for air. And, as George Washington advised, taste frequently!

This article originally ran in 2015.

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

35 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in July

mscornelius/iStock via Getty Images
mscornelius/iStock via Getty Images

The big fireworks show may come at the beginning of the month, but there are plenty more celebrations to keep you feeling Yankee Doodle Dandy all the way through to August.

1. July 1: National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day

Multicolored scoops of ice cream
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In 1984, Ronald Reagan deemed July National Ice Cream Month, and the third Sunday of this month National Ice Cream Day. As great as the treat itself is, we’re big fans of those unusual flavor combinations that make you question the limitations of culinary science and marvel at their possibilities!

2. July 2: World UFO Day

Keep your eyes on the sky at night on this day, because the truth is out there. What's the best way to celebrate? The World UFO Day website suggests "watching UFO movies, talking with your friends about the possibility of UFOs or alien life."

3. July 3: The Start of the Dog Days of Summer

That's right, dog days is more than just an evocative, old-timey phrase. The Farmer's Almanac describes it as the period of the summer when Sirius, the Dog Star (hence the name), rises each day around the same time as the sun. Or as we know it now, the really hot stretch of summer running from July 3 to August 11. Interestingly, the start of this steamy stretch for the Northern Hemisphere actually coincides with the day Earth reaches its aphelion, the point in the orbit farthest from the sun.

4. July 3-9: Be Nice to New Jersey Week

New Jersey gets a lot of flak. This is the week to make up for all those Jersey Shore jokes.

5. July 4: Sidewalk Egg Frying Day

Photo of a fried egg on hot concrete
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We’ve all heard the phrase “so hot outside you could fry an egg,” but today is the day we put that expression to the test. Though the origins of this climate-specific holiday are unknown, we imagine heat-inclined states were the earliest adopters.

6. July 6: International Kissing Day

Pucker up for some summer love! Formerly known as National Kissing Day in the United Kingdom, this holiday was invented to remind us all of the simple pleasure a sweet kiss can bring. It is also cited as a direct cause for National Mono Day (which also occurs on July 6).

7. July 7: Father-Daughter Take a Walk Together Day

Just because July 7 is designated as Father-Daughter Talk a Walk Together Day does not mean that it's an activity to be avoided the other 364 days of the year. The same goes for Tell the Truth Day, which is also July 7.

8. July 10: Teddy Bear Picnic Day

In the early 20th century, John Walter Bratton composed an instrumental song entitled “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic.” In the late 1980s, collectible items dealer Royal Selangor decided to turn that into a national holiday. He also had the idea to conveniently release toy boxes and collectible items in conjunction with said event. Regardless of capitalist motives, the day became a national holiday and remains popular throughout Europe, as far away as Australia, and among many reputable stuffed bear circles.

9. July 10: Don’t Step On A Bee Day

Stepping on a bee is bad for a lot of reasons (and for both parties involved), which is why it's good that these furry friends usually stick to the skies.

10. July 11: Bowdler's Day


This day honors the prudish man who gave us the word bowdlerize. English doctor Thomas Bowdler quit his job to focus on expunging all lewd and indecent references from Shakespeare's work. His (presumably much shorter) version of the Bard's tales, Family Shakespeare, came out in 1818, after which he turned his attention to Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and sections of the Old Testament.

11. July 11: World Population Day

World Population Day, which was created by the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, "seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues."

12. July 13: National French Fries Day

Or National Freedom Fries Day, depending on your politics. We can’t make any promises, but some restaurants have made a point of giving away complimentary fries in the past. Free or not, on this day treat yourself to a full basket of fried goodness—guilt-free.

13. July 13: Embrace Your Geekness Day

Whatever your definition of a geek may be, lean into why you're proud to be one.

14. July 13: International Town Criers Day


This holiday, which occurs annually on the second Monday in July, is a chance to honor the lost art of speaking loudly and starting proclamations with "Hear ye, hear ye!" in celebration of the ancient practice of town crying.

15. July 14: National Nude Day

Yes, this is the day the Tobias Fünkes of the world fear most. Originating in New Zealand, this non-public holiday encourages everyone to publicly celebrate their all-natural form. Note: please be sure to familiarize yourself with current local legislation concerning public nudity, lest you find yourself observing “international delinquent day.”

16. July 15: Saint Swithin's Day

Little is known about Swithin, the Bishop of Winchester in the 800s. But what is known is that many years after his death, his relics were transferred to the Winchester Cathedral on July 15, 971, a day which featured heavy rains. Since then, the belief has been that if it rains on this day, it will continue to rain for 40 more days.

17. July 18: Mandela Day


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Since 2009, Nelson Mandela's birthday has been celebrated as a chance to honor his life and inspire others to take action to change the world for the better.

18. July 18: National Woodie Wagon Day

Celebrate this symbol of 1940s and '50s Americana with a drive down Route 66 (or at least what's left of it).

19. July 19: National Ice Cream Day

In the middle of Ice Cream Month, there is Ice Cream Day. You know what to do.

20. July 19: National Flitch Day

A 15th century relic, a flitch referred to an amount of bacon offered to married couples by local monks who could prove a year’s worth of matrimonial bliss to a jury of their single peers. Thought to have originated in Dunmore, England, the modern-day flitch ceremony now takes place once every four years, but is still very much all about the bacon.

21. July 20: National Get Out of the Doghouse Day

It'll probably be too hot to hold grudges anyway.

22. July 20: Take Your Poet To Work Day

If you have a real-life poet friend, this could probably apply to them. But this holiday is meant to be for pocketing your favorite famous lyricist and taking them to your place of business (seriously).

23. July 21: No Pet Store Puppies Day


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Many puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, which, according to the Humane Society, are "inhumane, commercial dog-breeding [facilities] in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits." The ASPCA campaigns to reduce demand for these puppy mill puppies by calling for a full boycott of stores that sell them.

24. July 22: Rat-Catcher’s Day

On the supposed anniversary of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, this day honors exterminators of all shapes, sizes, and species.

25. July 22: Spooner's Day


Reverend William Archibald Spooner was a learned man, the warden of New College at Oxford. But he also had a habit of transposing the first letter of certain words. It is from his frequent, funny slips of the tongue that we get the word spoonerism.

26. July 24: National Drive-Thru Day

As with every food or beverage-related holiday, you're probably celebrating this anyway, but now you have a reason.

27. July 24: National Tell an Old Joke Day

Dust off your best chicken-crossing-the-road zinger.

28. July 24: Cousins Day

Get the whole family together—via Zoom, of course—and take a screen shot (or whatever families do).

29. July 26: Parents' Day

Did you think you were off the hook for appreciating the people who gave you life just because you made it through Mother's Day and Father's Day? Think again.

30. July 27: Bagpipe Appreciation Day


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Though bagpipes are perhaps most commonly linked to the Scottish, the largest producer in the world of this aerophone instrument is Pakistan. Just one of many fun facts you can toss out on Bagpipe Appreciation Day. You're welcome.

31. July 27: Walk on Stilts Day

If you can.

32. July 27: Take Your Houseplants For A Walk Day

It doesn't matter if your neighbors think you're crazy. Set those plants free!

33. July 29: National Lasagna Day

Grab some ricotta, pasta, and Bolognese and whip up a homemade lasagna, then catch up on some Garfield comics while you wait for it to finish cooking. There are many ways to honor National Lasagna Day. The only wrong way is to not honor it at all.

34. July 30: National Chili Dog Day

The last Thursday in July is your annual chance to proclaim your affection for this truly American delicacy.

35. July 31: National Talk in an Elevator Day


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We all do it. We look at our phone, at our feet, or at the fresh coffee stain on our shirts. Anything to avoid even making eye contact with our fellow elevator riders. Not today. Not on the last Friday in July. Say hello to your fellow elevator rider—through your face mask, of course.