Nog, Glögg & Grog


Delicious Holiday Beverages

Nog, Glögg or Grog, which came first?

“Grog” was first concocted a little over two hundred years ago.  A mixture of rum and water, it was originally invented to stop English sailors from getting drunk. The English Royal Navy supplied their sailors with a daily ration of grog, frequently imbued with a little lime juice or lemon juice to ward off the scurvy. Admiral Vernon may have been the first to add lime juice to the rum-water concoction. His nickname was “Old Grog”, and it is believed that the nickname of this admiral was soon transferred to become the name of this naval drink.

“Eggnog” is a rich, thick, delicious drink sipped by holiday beverage aficionados the world over. While traditionally associated with Christmas, the drink is considerably younger than the holiday. Contrary to popular stories, medieval Englishmen had no drink called “egg ‘n’ grog”. There is every indication that eggnog was invented in the late 18th century, in colonial America.  There are even some reports that George Washington had a recipe for eggnog in his “kitchen papers”.  And the name of Washington’s estate, Mount Vernon?  It was named after Admiral Vernon, the same guy the beverage “grog” was named after.

“Glögg” is a delicious, warmed, spiced wine, commonly associated with the Christmas season.  The word “glögg” first showed up in print in the year 1870, and its fame as a holiday beverage was in full swing by the 1890s.

From this limited information, it would be easy to conclude that all three of these holiday drinks are new concoctions, with glögg being the most recent.  But not so fast.  King Gustav I Vasa of Sweden was fond of a drink made from “German wine, sugar, honey, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves”, not unlike modern glögg. In 1609, it was named “glödgad vin”, which meant “glowing-hot wine.” Nearly three centuries later, this term was shortened to “glögg”.

The drink’s name may be traced back four centuries.  But the beverage itself is far older. Heated wine, prepared with mulled spices, was a drink enjoyed in first century Rome, over 2000 years ago.

We may never know for sure, but when Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar traveled to Bethlehem to worship the newborn Christ child, there is a chance that they enjoyed a warm cup of glögg at some point along their way.  Eggnog and grog, on the other hand, were not among their available beverage choices. Those two drinks simply had not been invented yet.

During the holiday season, you may see many churches putting up impressive displays of Christmas lights. At any given time, this church or that church might lay claim to having the “better lights”.

But a more important question is, “Which church has been around since the beginning?” All churches talk about Christ, but which church was actually started by Christ?  Which church is the only church that has been around for 2000 years?

Like eggnog and grog, all Protestant churches have been around for only a few hundred years.  A thousand years ago, no one went to a Baptist church, Nazarene church, or Pentecostal church, because none of those churches existed yet. Fifteen hundred years ago, there were no Lutherans, no Anglicans, no Mormons, and no Presbyterians, because these had not yet been invented.

If a person wants to get to know the original, then the Orthodox Church is the place to go. It was founded in 33 A.D. by Jesus as his apostles. For 2000 years, the Church has faithfully preached the Gospel, and has preserved a form of worship which truly honors God, communicating the truth with a sense of both majesty and beauty.

If you are just looking for a Christmas drink, it matters not whether you go ancient or modern.  You may freely enjoy a delicious glass of grog, nog, or glögg.

But if you are looking for the Christ, then modern inventions are best avoided.  Settle for nothing less than the Christian Faith in full strength, just as it was conveyed to the apostles two millennia ago. The original Church still exists. It is still here, and you can join it.



This is day thirty-three of the 40 Days of Blogging.
For more articles on nog, glögg & grog, check out these bloggers.

About Fr Joseph Gleason

I serve as a priest at Christ the King Orthodox Mission in Omaha, Illinois, and am blessed with eight children and one lovely wife. I contribute to On Behalf of All, a simple blog about Orthodox Christianity. I also blog here at The Orthodox Life.
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2 Responses to Nog, Glögg & Grog

  1. tpkatsa says:

    Great post – Great reasons to get completely sloshed.

    The argument from historicity – that the Orthodox Church is historically the original Christian Church – has always been for me its strongest appeal. When I first started looking for a church I put in “Apostolic Bible Church” into Google – yes I googled for a church (I was not Orthodox at that time) – and as you can imagine I got back a smorgasbord of churches. Cafeteria Christianity at its finest. But the spiritual buffet didn’t last very long because none of them were the real McCoy. So I did more research, in the process reading Jaroslav Pelikan’s monumental work on Early Christian Tradition. By reading Pelikan, I realized that the Orthodox Church had to be the original Christian church founded by Christ and His Disciples – there was and is no alternative, if one’s criterion is historicity.

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