Making egg nog for the British


When you put it like that, it’s a wonder we don’t live on the stuff.

I am trying to introduce mince pies to Americans, with interestingly mixed results. Definitely seeing some confused expressions. Some have trouble getting past the name.

Edit: I’m sure it was hard avoiding the pleasingly alliterative “Eggnog for the English”. Better to be correct though, I suppose.


Egg nog is actually something that was traditionally drunk in Britain (and elsewhere in Europe - Advocaat, the best known brand of bottled eggnog, is Dutch I believe), but it fell seriously out of favour about 20 years ago when the country had a bad salmonella scare. A large proportion of British people now simply won’t eat raw eggs in any context - even though, as you point out, British food regulations for chickens are now extremely strict by international standards, largely as a result of the self-same salmonella scare.

My grandmother used to make egg nog and it was very much a Christmas drink for us (well, for me it was the kids’ version, an “egg flip”, which lacks the alcohol), but we stopped doing it in the early nineties and I only persuaded my family to revive the tradition a couple of years ago. Even now my older relatives will only drink it if it’s got LOTS of alcohol in it, which they reckon will kill any possible infection in the egg; I suspect they’re wrong, but can’t complain about the extra measures of brandy…


I remember my parents drinking Snowballs at Christmas years ago, Advocaat is basically the same stuff as egg nog, no?

Any USians going to be mixing their nog with lemonade this year?

Maybe it all stopped because of Edwina Currie?

Edit: completely ninja’d by @RobJP

I have convinced my good lady wife of their merits. Going to be making some this year. The name is less confusing in the US, though, surely, since they don’t use the word mince (yeah, that whole meat thing still…)

Of course we have Egg Nog, my Nan used to make it every year. You can buy it ready made at most supermarkets.

Also, most people I know keep eggs in their fridge.

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Usually it’s the people who know just enough to know that “mince” is short for “mincemeat” and already have a suspicious attitude towards English cuisine.


The standard Christmas pie in my grandmother’s house was mincemeat, but by that I mean “American” mincemeat: raisins, apples, dates, and other chopped fruit cooked with spices and orange zest. No meat at all. Tastes like the essence of Christmas. I didn’t have a British mince pie until much later. Still tasty, but surprising!

Wow, came here to suggest that Advocaat was the equivalent to eggnog.

Mrs. Washington’s recipe for eggnog, apparently. It’s crucial to let it sit for a couple of weeks, so that the alcohol can kill all the bacteria.


Mincemeat hasn’t had meat in it for hundreds (?) of years. It’s a spiced mix of dried fruit. Traditionally it’s made with beef suet, but thanks to the wonders of modern food manufacture most store-bought mincepies are vegetarian.

Also, while typing this I typoed “micepies”; which of course are decidedly not vegetarian.

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While both of those recipes sound lovely I think the best eggnog recipe is the simplest, per person: beat one egg yolk, add one Tbsp sugar, beat till lighter and smooth, add 1/2 cup cream and a pinch of salt, beat the egg white and fold it in. Top generously with freshly grated nutmeg. If you want alcoholic nog, add a shot of bourbon after the sugar. If I’m making enough for the family I add one extra eggs worth of ingredients. The Joy of Cooking egg nog for a crowd is my go to for parties. Julia Child’s maple bourbon bavarian pudding is like egg nog in pudding form and is spectacular.

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Only a little over a hundred years, actually! Seasonal “mince pies” with actual mince in them were still popular right throughout the Victorian Era; a few outlets in London (most notably Fortnum & Mason) still sell pies with actual spiced ground meat in them, although I think that’s largely as a novelty item.

It’s also worth noting that even today’s mince pies do, in fact, have some meat in them - the fat used in the making of mincemeat is suet, which is a rich animal fat taken from around the kidneys of beef cattle. So despite the primary ingredients nowadays being dried preserved fruits, they’re generally still not suitable for strict vegetarians.


A few years ago, a microbiology lab in New York made a special batch of their traditional holiday eggnog – in addition to raw eggs (a traditional part of their recipe) they added touch of live salmonella. After three weeks aging in the fridge, the eggnog was sterile. The combination of alcohol and aging killed off all the pathogens. So properly made aged boozy eggnog is perfectly safe, regardless of any salmonella on the eggs.

You can get the story, and original (salmonella-free) recipe from this 2008 NPR story.


Is that the same thing though? I would expect Advocaat to be dairy-free and stronger, while in my admittedly limited experience egg nog is closer to an only moderately alcoholic pancake batter that you drink from a big mug.


I spent about 30 years in Southern California, and it’s the Mexican population that’s generally baffled by eggnog. When I was teaching most of my students had never had it. I tried telling them it was just like horchata but they thought I was nuts.


Perfect description. I was never surprised as a kid that people only seemed to subject themselves to it once a year. shudders


Suburban Boston; '50’s - '60’s in our home the tradition was Joy of Cooking traditional eggnog,
lots of yolks beaten with lots of booze, then turned into the ‘nog’…
and venison mince-meat pies, full of fruits and lard and deer.


Well, California Mexican and actually-from-Mexico are kind of two different cultures. Besides, the article implies that’s a liqueur, so I hope my 4th graders weren’t drinking it.

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The use of meat in a mincemeat pie died out during the Victorian era. It used to be a spiced meat pie, but ratios of meat to fruit became less and less, until by this century it was almost always fruit. There’s popular recipes printed in the 1850s that still used mutton or tongue in the pie. I still see plenty of ‘old fashioned mince pie’ recipes in cookbooks that add meat.

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Almost the exact post I was going to make. We grew up with egg flip at the grandparents and egg nog for the adults at Christmas.

Except I never revived the tradition. This year I will. Not British but Irish, so pretty close.