IT is a festive tipple which tends to be associated with America.

But a one-man business in Warrington is determined to bring eggnog back to its English roots with his decadent ‘Christmas nectar’.

Mark Preston started selling ‘Preston’s Original Eggnog’ in 2018 and his ambition is for it to eventually become the must-have drink during the festivities.

The dad-of-four started making the ‘egg milk punch’ simply out of curiosity in 2016 because it was not readily available to buy anywhere.

Mark said: “I was with my family a few years back and we were watching a Christmas film, I turned to them and said: ‘Do you know what? I’m going to make some eggnog’.

“It’s something you can’t really get it over here for reasons that still even today baffle me. So I did some research and put something together.

“The first prototypes had a lot to be desired but even then people really liked it.

“With each batch it evolved. I kept tweaking the recipe. I was up until the early hours investing all my time in getting it just right. Here we are now where I feel I’ve got my ultimate version.”

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The initial batches went to friends and family until he was convinced he had the potential to take it further.

Mark, who grew up in Howley, added: “The reason I started selling it was because I took it in to my colleagues where I work and the feedback was: ‘That’s amazing – you should start bottling that’.

“There was this void. At the time everyone was doing these flavoured gins and flavoured vodkas and I just thought: ‘Who’s doing eggnog? There’s got to be a market for it at Christmas’.

“I want it to be the new festive purchase and as essential as Bailey’s, turkey or sprouts. Everyone gets a bottle of Bailey’s at Christmas time. In the same way, if my eggnog was a prerequisite for the shopping list that would be amazing.”

Mark also became fascinated by the history behind eggnog while refining his recipe, which includes eggs, cream and milk but also bourbon, cognac, coffee liqueur, honey and nutmeg.

The former Sir Thomas Boteler student said: “The eggnog concept is actually an English invention.

“It was the aristocrats that drank it centuries ago to toasts events and celebrations – it wasn’t a Christmas thing at all.”

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The term ‘nog’ is thought to have come from the Middle English word noggin – a small, carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol.

Mark added: “They might raise a noggin on say a flaming June day for a wedding.

“Eggnog was then popularised by the first US President George Washington who used to make his own and then serve it at Christmas. So that’s why people tend to associate it with America and Christmas but we were drinking it a long time before that in this country.”

In 2018, Mark, sold 100 bottles and in 2019 he shifted 150 while this year he thinks he is on target to sell 400.

The 42-year-old, who balances his time between busy Christmas courier work, making eggnog and family time, said: “I think sales are growing partly because of the lockdown and people looking for treats they can have at home.

“I’ve also been working hard on raising awareness of the brand through social media and word-of-mouth.

“Covid has got a lot to answer for. It’s affected a lot of people’s plans including mine.

“I wanted to go to a lot of Christmas markets but I was told I couldn’t sell it in an open container. I had all these ideas for having the eggnog in a paper cup with cream and a straw. It’s just the sort of thing you want when you’re walking around a Christmas market.

“I think if we get to some sort of normality in 2021, it could be my year.”

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