Can You Drink Warm Eggnog And What Does It Taste Like?

Eggnog mugs with cinnamon sticks
Eggnog mugs with cinnamon sticks - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Besides sipping on a piping cup of hot chocolate on the coldest winter days, there's another holiday drink we can't forget: Eggnog! Setting aside its amusing name, eggnog's indulgent, creamy goodness and distinctive flavor have earned it a cherished place in holiday traditions worldwide. Who would've thought that a mix of raw eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and a hint of hard liquor could become such a Christmas staple?

If you're thinking about whipping up some eggnog for the upcoming holiday season, here's a tip: Serve it warm. While most people today like to drink eggnog cold, back in its birthplace in 14th-century Britain, the aristocracy — the only people who could afford eggs, milk, and quality liquors at the time — preferred their eggnog warm to keep cozy during winter. This heated version eventually traveled across the Atlantic to America and expanded past aristocratic circles, though it also picked up a few twists, like using rum instead of brandy for the alcohol component. Along the way, people's preferences and tastes changed. That's why you'll find people today usually enjoying their eggnogs in an ice-filled mug rather than the steamy version. But you can still warm it up to enjoy it like they did in the days of old.

The serving temperature can change its flavor, too. Warming it up makes the heat-carrying components — like the spices (nutmeg and cinnamon) and alcohol — more pronounced over the creaminess. On the other hand, serving it chilled brings out more of the sweetness from ingredients like milk and cream, with a gentler tinge of alcohol and nutty spices.

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Is Warm Eggnog Better Than Iced?

Toasting glasses of eggnog
Toasting glasses of eggnog - Petrenkod/Getty Images

The debate between warm and iced eggnog has been going on for years, but the truth is, it all comes down to personal preference. Warm eggnog is best served on especially cold days when you need something to heat yourself up. The heat from the milk, combined with the custardy texture of the drink and the warming feeling from the alcohol, will definitely make it a godsend.

On the other hand, there's a reason why lots of people like to have their eggnog cold — in a poll conducted by Well Trained Mind, 110 out of 138 people said that they prefer their eggnog cold compared to warm or at room temperature. When it's chilled, eggnog takes on a quality similar to melted ice cream. Add in the right spices and a bit of alcohol, and you'll get a lovely contrast between the coolness of the drink and the warmth of the spices and booze — people just can't get enough of this.

Really, neither way of serving is better than the other. You'll have a great time sipping on this rich beverage either way. Since eggnog can last for up to a week in the fridge, you can easily experiment with both versions and see which one you like better. Just store it in the fridge or pour it over some ice for the iced version, or give it a quick 30-second zap in the microwave for a warm winter treat.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.