When Does Eggnog Come Out In Stores And Restaurants?

Some people love Eggnog so much, they buy Eggnog Jelly Beans or Taffy! But Eggnog is customarily sipped at the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas to be specific. But when exactly does Eggnog come out in stores and restaurants?

Eggnog is a popular drink for Thanksgiving and Christmas, popping up on store shelves and restaurant menus during November and December. Nutmeg, milk, sugar, and whiskey, main Eggnog ingredients, evoke warmth on cool nights, though easily available all year for those who wish to make Eggnog from scratch.

Eggnog, a staple at winter holiday events, has become synonymous with the festive season. However, while most people know that this drink is traditionally associated with the holiday season, there is some debate over when exactly it is appropriate to enjoy this creamy beverage or find it at stores and restaurants.


Overview of Eggnog

Some people enjoy spiking their eggnog with rum, bourbon, or some other dark whiskey.

So what is Eggnog? I admit as a child, I detested it. The name alone makes most kids gag; but once, I tried a sip from a store-brand and gagged for real. Even today, I’m not a big fan and neither is anyone in my family, so it’s not usually something I even think about. That being said, what is Eggnog?

Eggnog is a thick, chilled, sweetened, dairy-based drink. It is usually made with milk, sugar, cream, whipped egg whites, and egg yolks, though there are many recipes. Even though ‘egg’ should be a primary ingredient given the name, the USDA specifies that a minimum of 1 percent egg is acceptable.

Another name for Eggnog is milk punch.

As debatable as the love of Eggnog is, so is it’s history. Most historians agree that it came from early/medieval Britain. Then monks from the 13th century popularized it, adding in spices and booze. And the tradition of Eggnog came to the New World with our founding father, George Washington, legend has it.

This drink was easily used in the 18th century American colonies where eggs, dairy, and rum were readily available for farmers. Nowadays, Eggnog pops up on shelves and menus only in November and December-for most places. But even then, over 130 million pounds of Eggnog are sold each year! That’s quite a feat with such limited buying and selling time!

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When Does Eggnog Come Out? 

Many people are surprised to learn that Eggnog is a traditional holiday drink only in the United States-with a few exceptions, of course. And even those areas tend to blend it with other popular traditions.

Though it’s possible to drink Eggnog all year, you can get Eggnog in most places from Thanksgiving onwards through New Year’s Day. Before that, it’s rare to find Eggnog on store shelves and even rarer on restaurant menus. Likewise, after New Year’s, Eggnog pretty much vanishes, til next November.

It‘s possible to get it prior to Thanksgiving. Stores like Kroger and Wegmans will stock it end of October in preparation for Thanksgiving feasts. You can even find Eggnog at Walmart and Target, during the holiday season that is. Businesses and companies often have ‘pre-Thanksgiving’ company dinners, so sometimes Eggnog is desired for those events.

For many, Christmas Eggnog is as traditional as watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation…can’t be skipped!

As well, I’ve found that if you talk to store managers directly, they’ll often order items especially for you. So if you want Eggnog in September, simply check with your local store buyers to see if it’s possible.

Note: Eggnog is sometimes associated with Easter, too. This is common in Britain and Australia particularly, though not so much in the states.

Eggnog in Restaurants

Eggnog is typically a seasonal drink. As already mentioned, it mainly starts coming out for the holidays at the end of October or for sure in November. However, some bars and restaurants might make exception, especially if they make it from scratch and aren’t dependent upon merchandise or product from others. To find out, you’ll need to check with your local bars or restaurants if interested.

Eggnog will pop up at restaurants during the winter holidays just like it does at grocery stores. It’s common to find Eggnog on menus at sit-down restaurants catering to holiday traditions. Yet, even McDonald’s serves Eggnog, though it varies as to when it’s available at different franchises.

Again, check ahead if you are purposely wanting Eggnog at your restaurant meal.

Sometimes, you can even make special request for this beverage at your favorite restaurant. They are more agreeable at holidays to make this possible, but depending on the restaurant and your patronage to it, you might even find they’ll make it outside of the holidays, too!

At the holidays, there are many restaurants that put Eggnog on the menu in some form or another:

Why Is Eggnog Only Sold In Stores At Christmas?

Homer Simpson is a fan of Eggnog.

Despite Eggnog sales constantly rising in the last 50 years, it is only widely accessible for two months of the year. A well-known libertarian, Homer J. Simpson, blames the government for its sudden absence. So why don’t manufacturers produce Eggnog all year round?

Eggnog is only sold during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season, though it doesn’t have to be that way. Essentially, it is tradition dating back hundreds of years that has kept this as a winter-seasonal drink.

Therefore offseason, Eggnog simply does not sell well, so manufacturers stick to making it when the market is large enough to cover all the production costs involved. It’s kind of like candy canes. I mean, people like candy canes, and can eat them anytime of the year, but traditionally, it’s a Christmas candy and has just stuck that way.

And the same can be said of gingerbread and all-things-pumpkin related. Sure, you can eat gingerbread men and drink a Pumpkin Spice latte in April, but that just doesn’t happen much. Gingerbread, candy canes, pumpkin ‘stuff’, and yes, eggnog are flavors preferred in winter months.

So it doesn’t make financial sense for Eggnog makers to produce the product during months when it’s not popular to drink, nor does it make sense for stores to stock it on their shelves when lemonade, Iced tea, and fruit punch sell better.

There are dozens of brands of eggnog on the market at the holidays (that is, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s).

How Can You Get Eggnog All Year Round?

If you enjoy this drink all year round, it is possible to stock up on some eggnog during the Christmas holidays or after Thanksgiving if you prefer (like Homer does). Or you could just make your own! From scratch!

To get Eggnog all year, you can either stock pile it from the holidays and keep it cold enough to last several months or you can make your own, which most everyone agrees is the preferable Eggnog. The good thing is that the ingredients for Eggnog are easily available anytime of the year.

There are many recipes online to try, but I prefer Chef John from FoodWishes.Com.

Ingredients common in Eggnog recipes: eggs; sugar; nutmeg; milk or cream; and some sort of whiskey or alcohol like bourbon, rum, or sherry.

Chef John provides one of the most popular eggnog recipes online.

Homemade eggnogs are incredibly easy to make, and you don’t need an excuse like Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday to get started. Once you learn to make it, you can easily have it at Valentine’s, Easter, or even on Memorial Day! In fact, Eggnog makes a great summer drink since it’s delicious iced or warm!

There are many other ways to incorporate Eggnog into your home menu, such as Eggnog pie, shakes, cake, or even Eggnog flavored cookies.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll likely not want to have any other kind of Eggnog either. You’ll be able to tailor it to your own preferences too. I’ve learned that making things from scratch not only gives me a sense of pride or confidence, but it’s much better knowing exactly what’s in it! No weird chemicals or mystery ingredients when you make it yourself!

You can also get eggnog substitutes or other holiday drinks that will give you a similar feeling without actually being made of egg and milk from stores or by making it yourself. If you prefer non-dairy or even Vegan style Eggnog, it’s possible (albeit, it’s not going to taste as good and yummy as traditional Eggnog!).

Wrapping Up Eggnog In Stores And Restaurants

To wrap it up, know that Eggnog is mostly available in stores and restaurants during the Thanksgiving to Christmas season, usually disappearing right after New Year’s Day.

However, if you speak directly to store managers or restaurant owners, you might be able to specially order Eggnog ‘off season’. Better yet, learn to make it yourself if you really enjoy Eggnog, that way you can sip your favorite holiday drink even in July!

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